The God of Small Things (1997) is the debut novel[->0] of Indian author Arundhati Roy[->1]. It is a story about the childhood experiences of fraternal twins[->2] whose lives are destroyed by the "Love Laws" that lay down "who must be loved, and how, and how much". The book is a description of how the small things in life affect people's behaviour and their lives. The book won the Booker Prize[->3] in 1997. The God of Small Things is Roy's first book, and as of 2010, is her only novel. Completed in 1996, the book took four years to write. The potential of the story was first recognized by Pankaj Mishra[->4], an editor with HarperCollins[->5], who sent it to three British publishers. Roy received half-a-million pounds[->6] in advances[->7], and rights to the book were sold in 21 countries.
Arundhati Roy is an Indian[->8] novelist. She won the Booker Prize[->9] in 1997 for her novel, The God of Small Things[->10], and has also written two screenplays[->11] and several collections of essays. Her writings on various social, environmental and political issues have been a subject of major controversy in India. The main themes in the book are Love, class relations, history and politics, cultural tension and social discrimination.
Chapter 21 - The Cost of Living
After everyone is asleep, Ammu listens to her radio on the veranda. She runs to the riverbank sobbing, hoping that Velutha will meet her there. He does not come; he is floating in the river, stargazing. He too is disappointed, having been so sure that Ammu would meet him on this night. Suddenly he sees her and swims over to where she sits. They embrace, and Ammu kisses him. They make love there on the riverbank. The experience is profound and somehow removed from time, even though it is the catalyst for the events leading up to Velutha's own violent death. During all of their clandestine meetings after that, Ammu and Velutha focus on the "Small Things," small and present pleasures, insects, the details of one another's bodies. In particular, they keep watch over a spider, which Velutha names "Lord Rubbish." They leave the "Big Things," the realities of daily life, behind. Sadly, even "Lord Rubbish" lives longer than Velutha. When Ammu and Velutha part at the end of each night, they say simply: "Tomorrow? Tomorrow." After they make love on the night of Sophie Mol's arrival, Ammu turns back to repeat "Tomorrow" one more time before heading back to the house.
Analysis of Extract
In the final three chapters[->12], Baby Kochamma emerges as a villain. In her old age she seems mundane and harmless, but in fact she is behind much of the family's scandal. Her nervousness at the twins' return to Ayemenem is not unsubstantiated; after all, she is the one who pressured Estha into identifying Velutha as guilty, she who made Ammu and Estha leave Ayemenem. Baby Kochamma sees herself as the ultimate protector of the "Big Things," most importantly the family's honour. Finding her own life uninteresting, she meddles with others' lives in order to make sure that she looks reputable. Roy's use of the grotesque crescendos in the final three chapters as Velutha is beaten by the police and left to suffer a somewhat slow and agonizing death. At Sophie Mol's funeral, Rahel imagines blood spilling from the ceiling-painter's skull "like a secret." Hers is a violent but somehow beautiful image of death. Roy uses the exact same phrase, "blood spilling from his skull like a secret," to describe Velutha as Estha sees him, on the brink of death. Although Velutha is "The God of Small Things[->13]," he is not invincible; he dies like something small, crushed and beaten like an insect. Yet his death is also somehow romantic and beautiful like the ceiling-painter's; he dies as a result of taking a risk for his passion (for Ammu as opposed to painting ceilings). Despite his body's crumpled, oozing condition when...