Themes on Grotesque in God of Small Things

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Major Themes- The Grotesque- The God Of Small Things

The grotesque permeates the story of The God of Small Things from the very beginning, when Rahel imagines the ceiling-painter dying on the floor, "blood spilling from his skull like a secret." We learn later that this is Velutha, dying alone and wrongfully accused in the police station. The grotesque takes precedence throughout the story precisely because it is not allowed to do so by the characters. That is, it is the manifestation of the ugly secrets that the family refuses to acknowledge, and since they are forbidden from being acknowledged openly, they are forced to seep into the world of "Small Things" through language, dreams, and daydreams. Two repeating grotesque images are of Velutha's broken body and Sophie Mol's drowned corpse. They are the proverbial skeletons in the family's closet, willed to be nonexistent but unable to be forgotten. Therefore they become macabre images that haunt the characters, especially Rahel and Estha. Also, sex and violence are connected in a grotesque way in the novel. The first instance of this combination is in Estha's molestation; his first sexual experience is a terrifying violation. And when it is safe on the riverbank, Ammu's and Velutha's affair is crystallized and beautiful, but once it is discovered, it quickly becomes associated with violent death. Finally, when Estha and Rahel make love, their incest is grotesque. Roy portrays the act of lovemaking as beautiful, but it is made bizarre by the fact that Rahel and Estha are siblings--twins, no less--and that they are doing so out of "hideous grief." It is as though in order to overcome all their grotesque secrets, Rahel and Estha must perform a grotesque act.
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