The perforated sheet- history repeats in the family

The perforated sheet is used as a symbol throughout Midnight’s Children. Along with acting as a symbol, it describes how when lessons are not learned, history repeats itself within a family. Initially, Aadam Aziz meets his wife, Naseem, through the perforated sheet. The sheet was meant to protect her honor as he examined her ailing body parts. Aadam ended up falling in love with Naseem’s individual body parts because that’s all that he was able to see and appreciate at a given time. “Glued together by his imagination, she accompanied him on all his rounds, she moved into the front room of his mind, so the waking and sleeping he could feel in his fingertips the softness of her ticklish skin or the perfect tiny wrists or the beauty of the ankles; he could smell her scent of lavender and chabeli; he could hear her voice and her helpless laughter of a little girl; but she was headless, because he had never seen her face.” (22). This infatuation that developed did not make him truly love the whole being; only the individual parts. As a result, the couple’s love is never stable and complete. Not learning from her parents’ own mistakes, Amina attempts to fall in love with her husband by focusing on his individual body parts and characteristics. “Each day she selected one fragment of Ahmed Sinai, and concentrated her entire being upon it until it became wholly familiar until she felt fondness rising up within her and becoming affection and, finally, love.” (73). This also failed because Amina and Ahmed lacked the complete love that they needed to have.


5 thoughts on “The perforated sheet- history repeats in the family

  1. jberson

    I agree with the symbolism of the sheet. It is interesting that at first it seems like a true love story by falling in love with a person without knowing what they look like. But by not knowing what a person looks like can be misleading causing the relationship to as said in the post, be unstable and fragmented. Infatuation can seem like love because it is a very passionate and obsessive feeling, but that feeling of lust eventually will die down. So the sheet was like a symbol of blocking affection, because by the sheet being in between it acted as protection.

  2. nikki

    I find it interesting that the image of the perforated sheet comes up so many times in the novel. Because the sheet first grabs the audience’s attention in the beginning of the story with Naseem and Aadam, and then again a similar image of Amina focusing on particular body parts of Ahmed, I have to wonder if this is more of a recurring theme or of the latter is opposing the first time the perforated sheet is mentioned. For example, based on the quote that rlong posted, it seems Amina tries hard to fall in love with Ahmed and feel romantic emotions for him, while contrastingly, Aadam felt more and more emotions every time he looked through the perforated sheet.


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