The Satanic Verses | Study Guide

Salman Rushdie

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The Satanic Verses | Part 3, Chapter 4 : Ellowen Deeowen | Summary

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Summary

Saladin's college friend, Jumpy Joshi, is revealed as the man who answered Pamela Chamcha's phone. Joshi had recognized Saladin's voice, too, and it came as a shock. Everyone, of course, believes Saladin died in the explosion. In fact, when he'd heard the news, Joshi had gone to Pamela's, and, finding her determined to empty several whiskey bottles, had offered to stay with her "as a pacemaker." The two had ended up in bed together. Now, Joshi is troubled by his belief that Saladin is alive. He wakes Pamela up and tells her Saladin is still alive.

In the morning, Pamela calls the airline to ask if there's any chance her husband survived the catastrophe. They say there is no chance. Angry with Joshi, she kicks him out of her home. After Joshi leaves, she thinks about Saladin, whom she believes never loved her, but only loved that she was so English. She then thinks of her mother and father, who committed suicide due to money troubles, and how she felt that marrying an Indian, which would have appalled them, was a way of getting back at them for leaving her.

Meanwhile, Joshi sits in the Shaandaar Café and drinks coffee. When the owner, Muhammad Sufyan, asks him why he is so down in the dumps and whether he prays, he admits he is not religious. Another café patron, lawyer Hanif Johnson, tries to cheer him up with friendly insults.

Pamela and Joshi meet again, and they spend seven days making love. As they make love on the seventh night, they are interrupted by a dirty, unshaven, and still-goat-legged Saladin.

Analysis

Returning to the motif of voices, this chapter begins as Jumpy Joshi recognizes Saladin's voice on the phone. Voices over the phone are part of Pamela's exchange with an airline representative. And as Pamela thinks about her relationship with Saladin, she focuses on her own voice—one which is loud and evokes the more rustic elements of British culture. She believes that Saladin never loved her, but only loved her voice, which caused him to see her as a representative of all things English. Her voice is an identifying and recognizable feature, just as Saladin and Jumpy Joshi recognized each other's voices.

The motif of parents and children manifests in this chapter as more of Pamela's backstory is revealed. She, too, is an orphan. (Significantly, in light of the many falls in the novel, Pamela's parents committed suicide by jumping off a tall building.) Her ties to the past, represented by her parents, have been severed. This results in an unmooring from her cultural heritage—manifesting in her interest in an Indian man simply because he is not English.

Rushdie often uses the vocabulary of religion outside of the context of religion to suggest that regardless of belief or unbelief, certain symbols and stories have rhetorical power. The recurring appearance of sevens and threes is an example. Both seven and three are significant numbers in the Abrahamic faiths and in mythology. Here, Pamela and Joshi make love for seven days.

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