For GHenglish class, we are currently reading Salman Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories and every week we discuss the book through student-lead Socratic Seminars. After every one of these discussions, we have been tasked with blogging about how the seminar went and our thoughts on the book and the discussion from that day. So there will be more Haroun blog posts to come!
When I first began reading Haroun, I was honestly not very impressed. It seemed as though the story wasn’t really going to take much shape and I felt like some elements of the story were unsuccessfully put in to try to make the story more intense or intriguing. As the story went on though, I began to get into the story a bit more, and now (as I’ve read up to Chapter 4 so far) I am interested to see how the story takes shape.
Also for GHenglish, everyone in the class has been broken up into four groups, and each of those four groups has been given a specific lens to look at the novel with a different perspective. The four groups are allegory, allusion, satire, and hero’s journey, and I have been placed in what my teacher has identified as the most difficult group (yay!) allegory. This group ties in lots of history and controversy about Salman Rushdie and how he ties in parts of his life to the book. One of the major elements of the book that I believe relates to Rushdie’s life is how Haroun’s father Rashid looses his storytelling abilities. This to me seems like the plight that Rushdie faced after publishing The Satanic Verses, first having lots of storytelling abilities and a free voice, and then having that voice taken away from you.
Another level of reflection that we have to do for this book is to look for places in the book where we can analyze language and its meaning, the story at the level f story, language as a tool, and appearance vs. reality. I find appearance vs. reality very interesting, and some examples of this I found in the text is when the stories Rashid told have blurred with world they’re living in, like when the Dull Lake turns into the Moody Lake and when Haroun discovers the Water Genie.
The discussion that our class had about this book brought about many new insights and made me look at some parts of the book at a deeper level. One of the things that we questioned in the discussion is if the book really is a children’s book or not. I personally believe that it is more of a children’s book, but everyone can enjoy it. Many people discussed how to define a children’s book and how a book can be a ‘children’s book’ if it’s written for adults to read and enjoy along with their children. Overall, I think it was a very good discussion and I’m hopeful about our discussion for next week.