Review of Salman Rushdie’s Book, The Ground beneath Her Feet

July 16, 2021 by Essay Writer

Chapter fifteen explores the meaning behind the title of this book, I enjoyed this chapter the most since it really gives you a look at what Rushdie is saying, and what his meaning is. The ground beneath her feet symbolizes so many things; an image of Vina’s last day, what Rai and Ormus worship about Vina, the angry gods, smell of hell, and it is the final good bye from Ormus to Vina. Rushdie uses great imagery in this chapter to really put the picture in your mind of what it looks like. It is also the time in the book where Rushdie starts to wrap things up, and the reader is taken to a different level. Instead of all the constant problems these characters have, Ormus and Rai now have to deal with saying goodbye to the one they both loved, Vina. Each character deals with their problem individually, Rai takes pictures, and Ormus writes her a song, but both convey the same image of the ground beneath her feet.

“In my last photograph of Vina the ground beneath her feet is cracked like crazy paving and there’s liquid everywhere. She’s bending left to compensate. Her arms are spread wide, her hair is flying, the expression on her face is halfway between anger and fear. Behind her the world is out of focus. There is a sense of eruptions all around her lurching body: great releases of water, terror, fire, tequila, dust”(466). Rai’s last picture of Vina is something that he will cherish forever, while she is the one that is in focus, the one that he loves, everything else is just exploding all around her, how Rai really feels inside whenever he sees her. It is not hard to vision this scene in the novel; Rushdie’s words are full of meaning, symbols, and visions. This helps in relating to the characters, being able to imagine their faces, their pain, and their feeling. The same thing happens with Ormus when he writes his finally goodbye to Vina. “All my life, I worshipped her. Her golden voice, her beauty’s beat. How she made us feel, how she made me real, and the ground beneath her feet. And now I can’t be sure of anything, black is white, and cold is heat; for what I worshipped stole my love away, it was the ground beneath her feet. She was my ground, my favorite sound, my country road, my city street, my sky above, my only love, and the ground beneath my feet. Go lightly down your darkened way, go lightly underground, I’ll be down there in another day, I won’t rest until you’re found. Let me love you true, let me rescue you, let me lead you to where two roads meet. O come back above, where there’s only one love, and the ground’s beneath your feet”(475). Similar to Rai, Ormus spills all his feelings right out for the reader to see, while Rai is taking pictures Ormus just tells it, both these characters have experienced Vina in an intimate way and how they express their feelings is on the contrary but yet it is also parallel.

Besides Ormus and Rai the ground beneath her feet was brought out in different situations in this chapter, “earthquakes, I point out, have always made men eager to placate the gods” (457), “Sulfur with its stench of Hell” (465), these two lines are relating the earthquakes to the Gods, and the Devil, taking the meaning to an imaginary image only, somewhere where it can only be understood, since the Gods and the Devil are considered myths. While at the same time you have this already made vision of Vina, Ormus, and Rai, who could be imposed as the Gods and the Devil. It is interesting how Rushdie works with this all throughout the novel. He sets up scenes with the Gods and imposes Vina, Ormus, and Rai into situations that relate his meaning visually.

Beneath her Feet had different associations with the title, mostly it talked about the earthquake that ended Vina’s life, “then the ground simply opens and eats her, like a mouth” (472). The Ground Beneath Her Feet surrounded Vina, and her life, even though there was not much of her thoughts put into the book, the two men that loved her spoke their mind of her almost every page and finally you realize how important the ground beneath her feet is. Vina is a God to these men and they worshipped every step she took, and followed her great distances, even when she was a completely mean to them. After her death when “these fallen boulders are her tombstone, this brokenness her grave”(473), every one shouts her name some place or another besides Rai: Vina, Vina, just to console their hearts and release the pain that is built up inside by her, and by her death. The ground will never be the same with out Vina Apsara, the music is different, lives are different, and the ground is different.

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