Extended metaphor: “Perhaps Ammu, Estha and she were the worst transgressors. But it wasn't just them. They all broke the rules. They all crossed into forbidden territory. They all crossed into forbidden territory. They all tampered with the laws that lay down who should be loved and how. And how much. The laws that make grandmothers grandmothers, uncles uncles, mothers mothers, cousins cousins, jam jam, and jelly jelly.
Rahel and Estha live in a society with very rigid class lines.
“Commonly held view that a married daughter had no position in her parent’s home. As for a divorced daughter – according to Baby Kochamma, she had no position anywhere at all. And for a divorced daughter from a love marriage, well, words could not describe Baby Kochamma’s outrage…”
“Chacko told the twins that, though he hated to admit it, they were all Anglophiles. They were a family of Anglophiles. Pointed in the wrong direction, trapped outside their own history and unable to retrace their steps because their footprints had been swept away”
The concept of "Anglophilia" is a big one in this book, from the way everyone fawns over Sophie Mol, to Chacko's cocky attitude about his Oxford degree, to the whole family's obsession with The Sound of Music. But it's pretty clear that the thing they love also holds them down. When Chacko says their footprints have been swept away, he is making a reference to the way members of the Untouchable caste have to sweep away their footprints so that people of higher classes don't "pollute" themselves by walking in them. Even though by Indian standards their family is of a relatively high social status, they are of a low social status in relation to the British.
Pappachi would not allow Paravans into the house. Nobody would. They were not allowed to touch anything that Touchables touched. Caste Hindus and Caste Christians. Mammachi told Estha and Rahel that she could remember a time, in her girlhood, when Paravans were...