The Narrative Technique and the Role of Social Realism: The god of Small Things

Topics: Narrative, Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things Pages: 5 (1760 words) Published: April 10, 2013
1.Non-sequential Narrative The God of Small Things is not written in a sequential narrative style in which events unfold chronologically. Instead, the novel is a patchwork of flashbacks and lengthy sidetracks that weave together to tell the story of the Ipe family. The main events of the novel are traced back through the complex history of their causes, and memories are revealed as they relate to each other thematically and as they might appear in Rahel's mind. Although the narrative voice is omniscient, or all-knowing, it is loosely grounded in Rahel's perspective, and all of the episodes of the novel progress towards the key moments in Rahel's life. This non-sequential narrative style, which determines the form of the novel, is an extremely useful authorial tool. It allows Roy a great deal of flexibility as she chooses which themes and events are most important to pursue. The author is able to structure her book so as to build up to the ideas and events at the root of the Ipe family's experience.

2.Foreshadowing Throughout Roy's novel, the narrative voice emphasizes that it is building towards a mysterious, cataclysmic, and all-important event. Roy even provides details and glimpses of the event, which she refers to as "The Loss of Sophie Mol," and quotes characters remembering it and referring to it vaguely far before the reader discovers what has happened. Because of this technique, called foreshadowing, Roy builds considerable tension and intrigue into The God of Small Things, and she is able to play with the expectation and anticipation that the reader feels.

3.Point of View The book is narrated in the third person. However, during a great part of the narrative, the reader sees everything through Rahel's eyes. This gives the reader a very special insight into the happenings and characters. The are various moments which cross each other all through the book. One moment is in 1969 when Rahel is a seven-year-old child. At these moments everything is seen through a child's eye with a child's feelings and rationale. Facts, objects and people are seen in a complete different light. The child's view gives the book a very special charm and poignancy. It also brings in moments of light comic scenes. Another moment is twenty-three years later of an adult woman, searching for something she has lost in her childhood. The adult's eye is more critical. Through her eyes, the reader feels the sadness and horror of how the facts came together, causing such a terrible tragedy. Some other parts of the book are written from the point of view of an observer who has no direct involvement in the scene. The background information on the family and facts are written in pure impartial narrative form, as is the last love scene. The impartial view, which purely relates the facts, brings the story together, making it real and believable. The author uses this style to create an exquisite atmosphere and a beautiful but very sad story. Roy imbues the plot with a mixture of innocence, love and malicious manipulation.

4.Setting The story is set in the small town of Ayemenem in the Kerala province, southwest India. The main part of the plot takes place in 1969, a time when the caste system in India was still very strongly imbedded. It is also the time of increased awareness around the world and a peak of communist ideology and influence. India is a very complex society with various cultural and religious habits and beliefs. Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and Muslims share the same space. Society is divided not only by the very strict caste system but also by class consciousness. There are a number of languages spoken in India, but the higher classes make a point of speaking English, sending their sons to study in England and adopting certain English habits.Kerala,where the story is set itself has a complex social setup with Hindus, Muslims and Christians having lifestyle and traditions different from each other. It also has a considerably...
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