Salman Rushdie on Truth, Lies and Literature

Topics: Salman Rushdie

In my opinion, literature is articles, novels, poems, and scripts that are of an extremely high academic value. These are pieces of written knowledge that will leave a lasting impact on the world. When I look at comics, cartoons, or other written pieces along those lines. I do not think of those as literature. For, they hold no real meaning and are just there to draw a laugh out of someone. In looking at the Merriam-webster dictionary online, the first definition for literature is as follows, “writings in prose or verse, especially: writings having excellence of form or expression and expressing ideas of permanent or universal interest, literature stands related to man as science stands to nature— J.

H. Newman” (“Literature.” Merriam-Webster). Merriam Webster dictionary is a respected source that is been around since the 1800s. I also choose this source, because I saw its definition was somewhat similar to mine in that literature is written works of great importance.

When I think of storytelling, I think of being told about the life of someone or a world they live in, or an adventure or journey they went on.

We tell stories to maybe put forth a message or teach a lesson. I also think we could tell stories just to transport us away from the present world we are in and to be transported to another world or another experience for a short period and to learn about that certain thing. The following are two quotes from the Harvard business website, “Storytelling has the power to engage, influence, teach and inspire listeners”.

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“Ultimately, storytelling is about the exchange of ideas, about growth – and that’s learning” (Peterson, Lani. “The Science Behind The Art Of Storytelling.”). Storytelling is a key factor in literature to make it vital.

I think rhetoric is a certain way a person uses words to get a point across to people or to use words that convince people to do things. After doing some research I found a good definition for rhetoric on the University of Illinois Springfield’s website. “Rhetoric is how you communicate in everyday life. These communications can be persuasive and can be made of text, images, video, or any other type of media. Rhetoric requires an understanding and control of language and knowledge of culture” (“What Is Rhetoric? – Center for Academic Success.” UIS). This stood out to me because I concluded that rhetoric was a way to persuade people to do things.

A testimony is something that a person says that you can take as the truth. The following is a quote from the Cornell Law school’s website on what a testimony is “Oral or written evidence given by a competent witness, under oath, at trial or in an affidavit or deposition” (“Testimony.” Legal Information Institute). I think testimony is important in literature because it can be used to describe accounts of events that happened.

When looking at the question how can we find the truth? I think it is very hard to find the truth from people because humans have a nature to not be truthful. So, I think if you want to find the truth one would have to do extensive academic research on the matter or get facts backed up by numerous people that were there and know the matter in question. I also think people need to know their sources and the people or things that are providing the information. An article in the New Yorker goes into good detail on this. Talking about how some things are known facts. Like certain events that happened at a certain time. However, other things are harder to find the truth because they are things that can only be known by personal recounts of the event(Rushdie, Salman. “Salman Rushdie on Truth, Lies, and Literature.”).

When looking at the question, How can we tell the truth? I think the only answer is, to be honest with ourselves. Because in the end, we are the ones that are going to know if we are deceitful or being honest with people.

When I think of Bias, I would say that it is when someone or a group of people have a certain opinion or thought that is not based on straight facts but their own beliefs. A definition for bias on the Merriam-Webster dictionary’s website is as follows, “to give a settled and often prejudiced outlook to”( “Bias.” Merriam-Webster). When thinking of bias and literature, I think we need to think of it as an author writing a piece with a certain opinion on something.

I have never really had to know the word positionality, but just by looking at it, I would assume it is a person or a group of people and their position in the world and life. The following is a quote from on what positionality is “Positionality is the social and political context that creates your identity in terms of race, class, gender, sexuality, and ability status. Positionality also describes how your identity influences, and potentially biases, your understanding of and outlook on the world” (“What Does Positionality Mean?” I think positionality plays a huge role in literature because the position of a writer or author can affect how they write a certain piece.

I see the word representation and I see it as what a person represents and stands for in their life. I would say it is somewhat similar to positionality. The following are two definitions from the Cambridge dictionary’s website. “the way that someone or something is shown or described” (“REPRESENTATION: Definition in the Cambridge English Dictionary.”), “The fact of including different types of people, for example in films, politics, or sport, so that all different groups are represented” (“REPRESENTATION: Definition in the Cambridge English Dictionary.”). I think representation is important in literature for every important point should be included.

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Salman Rushdie on Truth, Lies and Literature. (2022, May 11). Retrieved from

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