The Lesson Children Learn from Fiction: Communism Representations in Haroun and the Sea of Stories


            When Iff and Haroun are taken prisoner aboard the Shadow Ship, they speak with Khattam-Shud’s shadow. As the two ask of his evil plans the Cultmaster’s shadow says “The world, however, is not for Fun. The world is for Controlling” (Rushdie 161).

            Haroun and the Sea of Stories was originally created because the author was telling his son a bed time story. Subconsciously or not, Rushdie created Khattam-Shud and his Union of the Zip Lips to represent communism and to teach his son (and other children once this bedtime story had become a novel) to fear communism.

            To quote the actual founder of communism, Karl Marx, “For the bureaucrat, the world is a mere object to be manipulated by him.” Now, doesn’t that sound familiar to what Khatta-Shud said?

            In today’s world, where communism is not around as much as before, children do not learn about the dangers of communism until they are much older. By weaving this idea of “communism bad” into children’s stories, when kids do end up learn about communism, they will be able to relate it to novels they have read and understand the cruelty of it. Though it is sad that youth must be taught the wrongness of communism through fiction, it enables them to learn valuable lessons while also having fun and enjoying a good story.

Proposition: More novels need to incorporate lessons for children that sometimes they cannot acquire in school or at their age.


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