Social Realism in God of Small Things

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  • Topic: Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things, Sociology
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  • Published : November 24, 2012
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Social Realism in Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things
Chapter-1Introduction
In this micro research, it is all about social realism in Arundhati Roy’s novel The God of Small Things. Here major aim is to work on social problems, that have come up in the contemporary India, found in this novel. It can be seen as one of the most powerful novels on a definite social problem, that of the oppression of the down trodden, also touching upon related problems. It problematizes the oppressive machinery based on caste discrimination and collusion with it of certain political forces. Arundhati Roy has succeeded in presenting a realistic picture of the Dalit in their primary membership in various classes and communities. She analyses in her novel the lives of dalit, in particular, along the axes of class and gender. She also has criticized the urban higher middle class for its hypocrisy and selfishness. However, she remains an insider. She does not consider herself a feminist in the conventional sense. She is also interested in the exploration of social structures i.e., class and caste. The God of the Small Things is set in the south-western state of Kerala. Although her narrative adopts poetic style weaving numerous symbolic strands, Ms. Roy maintains a firm grip over the realistic vision. Roy has also highlighted the class struggle and sufferings of the emerging class of Indian women. The most bitter attack is carried in the novel against the sham lives lived out by the politicians whose double standards of behaviour and talk are exposed by the author. The portrayal of police and women in the novel is also one of the most sarcastic depictions. Chapter-2Review of Literature

Dr. Jaya Lakshmi Rao has worked on the paper, “ "Ice-Candy-Man" and "The God of Small Things": Some Interesting Parallels(4 August 2001)”. In this paper it is said that, Arundhati Roy similarly includes facts of her life -- her Syrian Christian background, the popularity of the English language among them, the Kottayam- Cochin coast, her mother's estranged marriage, her awareness of being unwelcome at her native place, the ancestral house, politics and caste divide in Kerala- and several other details found place in her novel.

Urbashi Barat has also remarked on Roy’s novel in the following words; “The novel is moored in space and time and conveys the contemporary social situation with immediacy and poignancy”.(Urbashi Barat: 71). There is typical philosophy behind this traditional Indian system which exhibit rigid power structure. Ms. Renuka Roy, a Gandian nationalist leader has a very interesting observation in her book My Reminiscences about the traditional family structure in our country, She says, “Perhaps the extent of the subjugation of women in India can be best understood by referring to the joint family in its pristine glory when it held sway over its members. It was an authoritarian system demanding obedience from members of the family. I wonder, however, how many of the young people today realize that the joint family with rare exceptions was dominated by a woman whose will was paramount. Sometimes she was the widowed mother but she might have gained control in the lifetime of her husband who was perhaps the head of the clan, but it was she who ruled with an iron hand. It was she who in her youth had been a victim of the authoritarian family and who herself later became the great upholder of conservatism and social customs which inhibited the development and growth of women…. Women find that they are often torn between their need for self-expression and their attachment to the old values”.(p. 79)

In an interview after her daughter received the Booker Prize, her mother, Mary Roy, said, "It is only when I read her book that I realized that even at five she was conscious that we were unwelcome in the native home and that I expected her to be able to stand on her own feet -- ".

Another person named Khurshid...
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