Luka and the Fire of Life, by Salman Rushdie, is a book that was written for one of his sons. In this book, Luka is forced to travel to the World of Magic in order to save his beloved father, Rashid Khalifa, the storyteller. This book was written for his youngest son, while he wrote the book Haroun and the Sea of Stories for his eldest son. Although this book was for his youngest son, anyone any age can read this fun, playful book. Luke and the Fire of Life has so many crazy characters like Nobodaddy, Luka’s sinister guide, and Dog, the bear, and Bear, the dog. Without even reading the book, it is clear that one of the biggest themes in this book is imagination, as well as the importance of father-son relationships.
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The scene I chose that represents the themes of imagination and the importance of father-son relationships was when Luka stars yelling at the Gods towards the end of the book. Luka says “believe you me, I have a lot to say about all this poppycock, and you had better listen up closely, because your future depends on it as much as mine” (Luka 182). He tells them that the Magic World they are living in is not actually created by them and does not belong to them—it belongs to his father! If his father dies, so does the rest of the Magic World, including everyone living in it. Here we are able to see how much Luka loves his father. He comes over his fear of the “extinct” gods and tells them what needs to be told. Throughout the book, Luka always has Dog, the bear, and Bear, the Dog, helping him along the way, as well as Nobodaddy, and the Dragons, and many others. Someone is always helping him. This scene is where he truly breaks of on his own for the sake of his father. He does not use the help of someone else to tell of the Gods, because he knows he has to say the things he said in order to save his father. This father-son bond is so strong that he forgets about his fears of the Gods and does anything to save his beloved father. At twelve-years-old we love our parents and think they will be with us for the rest of our lives, no matter what. But, unfortunately, we know that is not true, and that is hard for Luka to understand. He loves his father and will do anything to save him.
I also noticed that he gave his father credit for doing such an amazing thing—creating the world. Luka says about his father that “He put [the Magic World] together this way, he gave it shape and laws, and he brought all of you here to populate it, because he has learned about you, thought about you, and even dreamed about you all his life” (Luka 182). Luka is so amazed by the things his father has done, especially by his creation of the Magic World. He lists to the Gods all his father’s work into creating their World. It is nice to see how infatuated he is with his father.
Of course, the theme of imagination plays a huge role in this book. We have to use our imaginations throughout the book to understand what is happening. When there are symbols that go on for a page, we have to create what is being said with our imagination. It interrupts our reading and makes us active readers; we become more into the book. Not to mention all the crazy names and details that are in this book. We have to use our imagination and create the worlds Luke and the rest are living in. Luka’s relationship with his father and the imagination we had to use to read the book made it even more enjoyable to read.
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