Narrator and point of view
The short story “Good Advice Is Rarer Than Rubies” by Salman Rushdie is told by a third-person narrator. The narrator confines himself to the perspective of Muhammad Ali throughout the story.
The narrator’s point of view is limited to what Muhammad Ali experiences. For example, he only finds out information about Miss Rehana’s life when she confesses what she did in the Embassy. Furthermore, Muhammad Ali is taken by surprise by Miss Rehana’s failure to get a visa: “ ‘But this is tragedy!’ Muhammad Ali lamented. ‘Oh, how I pray that you had taken up my offer!’ ”. He is also surprised to discover Miss Rehana has failed to get a visa on purpose.
The narrator also presents Muhammad Ali’s interpretation of Miss Rehana’s feelings: “Her innocence made him shiver with fear for her (…). Her eyes remained steady, but her hands began to flutter at the edges of his desk”. While Muhammad Ali seems to believe Miss Rehana is nervous about the questions she will be asked, she is, in fact, excited, because she has been shown how to make sure she does not get the visa.
Towards the end of the story, Muhammad Ali seems to understand Miss Rehana’s motivation, but the narrative is not explicit in this matter: “Her last smile, which he watched from the compound until the bus concealed it in a dust cloud, was the happiest thing he had ever seen in his long, hot, hard, unloving life”. This suggests Muhammad Ali’s dissatisfaction with his life as well as his admiration towards Miss Rehana since she clearly chose a life that makes her happy....