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150Re: Satanic Verses

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  • liquidmice
    May 11, 2003
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      <<<<However, it is still this 'good and evil' thing that I am not so
      clear about. From what I understand, Gibreel was supposed to
      be the evil part of the book and Saladin was the good. Could
      someone here explain (with examples from the book) perhaps
      how this idea presents itself in the book. What's this 'battle
      between good and evil' that everybody is on about.>>>>

      Well, it's for good reason that you're not so clear about the
      battle of 'good vs. evil' in the Satanic Verses, for Rushdie
      mocks that very battle throughout the novel. The lines between
      good and evil, sacred and profane, holy and defiled, (lines that
      are essential to our big 3 religions) are consciously blurred by
      Mr. Rushdie in the Satanic Verses.

      In your question, you stated that you understood Gibreel to be the
      symbol for evil, and Saladin to be the symbol for good. But
      remember the beginning of the book! It is Saladin who, after
      falling from the wreckage of flight AI-420, transforms into a devil
      and Gibreel who transforms into an angel! Saladin and Gibreel
      transform into specific religious images, angel and devil,
      images which Rushdie proceeds to throw in our faces. So, like
      you said, by the end of the novel the reader finds the devil image
      to be `good' and the angel image to be `evil.'

      Saladin's satanic transformation was, in large part, an allegory
      of "foreignness" both culturally and spiritually, for Saladin
      was a man who was not yet "whole." In the end, Saladin's
      EVIL image didn't follow the traditional satanic route, for he
      transforms Spiritually, Socially, and Culturally, by reconnecting
      with his Father, his Country, and his Essence. The angelic
      Gibreel on the other hand, our symbol of the sacred and pure
      (especially in the public eye), becomes more fragmented,
      unwise, and lost.

      So at the end of the novel, it is our devil who is the hero while our
      angel falls apart. Another reason why this novel is not popular
      among the religious community. For Rushdie the battle between
      good and evil is EVERY PERSONS' BATTLE, and traditional
      good/evil imagery need not apply. Good/Evil is not easily defined.
      Human action and motivation is not always easily
      compartmentalized into concise judgments of "good" and "evil."
      Traditionally "Sacred" or "Holy" or "Good"
      things often get edited, misread, misused, and distorted into the

      It is my opinion that part of Rushdie's message wasÂ… Seek not
      the definition of good and evil; look instead toward the power of
      TRANSFORMATION. It is also my opinion that The Satanic
      Verses is 1.) what some spiritual philosophies call `DHARMA'
      and 2.) one of the most spiritually significant novels of our time.
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