Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie is a creative story of a young boy who encounters a world of literacy, while trying to regain his fathers story telling ability. In this book, there is a constant battle between forms of good and evil; this theme changes from good vs. evil, light vs. darkness, and voice vs. silence throughout this magnificent story.
The first theme that occurs in this story is the classic good vs. evil theme which appears in all great fantasy stories. In Haroun and the Sea of Stories, the evil is Kattam-Shud and his followers, the Chupwalas. The good in this story is Haroun, his father, and all the Guppies that inhabit the moon of Kahani. The wicked Cultmaster tried to poison the Sea of Stories and stole away the princess of Gup, Batcheat. We have sent messages to Cultmaster Kattam-Shud, continued the Speaker of the Chatterbox. These messages concerned both the vile poison being injected into the Ocean of the Steams of Story, and the abduction of Princess BatcheatI have to inform you, therefore, that a state of war now exists between the Lands of Gup and Chup. (Rushdie, 90,91).
Kattam-Shud had no right to capture the Princess and poison the Sea of Stories. The Guppies never did anything to disturb the peace between the two cities. Another scene in the book, where the theme of good vs. evil emerges is in the very beginning. Mr. Sengupta leaves his wife and steals Harouns mom away. Mr. Sengupta and the Cultmaster, Kattam-Shud, say the same line that is repeated throughout the whole book; Whats the use of stories that arent even true. Salman Rushdie connects these two characters with this line. Haroun even believes for a moment that the Cultmaster really is Mr. Sengupta. Youre him. Youre Mr. Sengupta and you stole my mother(Rushdie, 155)
The second theme in this story is light vs. dark. The theme changes when the Guppies begin to cross into the Land of Chup, and they see a world of darkness. The light failed slowly, then more quickly. They were in the Twilight Strip! Looking in to the distance, where darkness gathered like a storm-cloud, Haroun felt his courage weaken (Rushdie, 121). Fables, such as this one, often represent good as being light and evil as being dark. In the land of Gup, it is always day time, while in Chup it is always night. However, also in these fantasy stories, good always seems to triumph over evil. Salman Rushdie creates symbolic scene in which Haroun wishes that the sun would come up in the Land of Chup. Eleven minutes passedThe moon Kahani turned---quickly, because as Haroun had specified during his wishing, there was little time to be lost---and the sun rose, at high speed, and zoomed up into the sky until it was directly overhead: where it remained (Rushdie, 171,172). First, the mentioning of the eleven minutes passed symbolizes the time of day that his mother, Soraya, left his father for another man. It symbolizes that he has finally overcame the time when his mom left them. Also, the way that Rushdie explains how the light of the sun spreads into the darkness makes it seem for the first time in the story that good has prevailed over evil.
The third and possible the most relevant theme in the story is voice vs. silence.
There is an endless conflict between the citizens of Gup and Chup with voice and silence. Guppies love to talk and in fact it is an insult to be silent; Chupwalas are just the opposite. Half of the purpose of the war between the two cities was the pollution of the Sea of Stories. The Cultmasters plan was to create anti-stories to destroy the real stories in the ocean. He also plugged up the Wellspring which new stories come through. Now the fact is that I personally have discovered that for every story there is an anti-story. I mean that every storyand so every Stream of Story---has a shadow-self, and if you pour this anti-story into the story, the two cancel each other out, and bingo!(Rushdie, 160).
These three themes change throughout the whole story however; they are all connected to each other from the beginning of the story to the end. The continuous struggle between good and evil, light and dark, and voice and silence, all symbolize the same thing. The diversity between the two Lands shows us that we are all different, but just as the Land of Chup and the Land of Gup come together as one at the end of the story, we, as human beings are one too.