The God of Small Things

Topics: India, Kathakali, Kerala Pages: 5 (1929 words) Published: June 24, 2013
Soare Maria Mihaela
“The God of Small Things” Arundati Roy

The God of Small Things is about a family living in India after the Declaration of Independence. The story is told in a very interesting way although it may take some time to enter completely into its world and to get accustomed to the author's style. Since the reader is jumping back and forth in time one only gets little bits of information, but the more one gets to know the more one wants to know. During the first reading some questions may occur and are only answered towards the end of the book. The reader knows for example that something has happened or is going to happen but not how, where and why therefore even though the story isn't told in a chronological order it is revealed bit by bit. The novel broaches the possibility of women’s possessing a self and freedom of choice. The narrator’s ironic repetition of “My” intimates her impatience with the patriarchal possessive language and delicately questions its equity. Rahel and Esthappen (Estha) are seven year old fraternal twins. They are living in Ayemenem with their mother Ammu and her brother Chacko, their grandmother Mammachi and their great-aunt Baby Kochamma. Their father Baba lives in Calcutta. Ammu left him when the twins were two years old. The family is expecting the arrival of Margaret and Sophie Mol, Chacko's ex-wife and daughter, who are living in England. Since Margaret's second husband Joe had died in a car accident, Chacko invited them to spend Christmas in India in order to get over the loss. When they have arrived, Sophie Mol is taking centre stage. So Rahel and Estha stroll around on the river bank and find an old boat. With Velutha's help they repair it and frequently cross the river to visit an abandoned house on the other side. Velutha is an Untouchable, whom Ammu and Chacko have known since their childhood. Their family have given him the opportunity to visit a school and employed him as a carpenter and mechanic in the family's pickle factory. During the guests' stay Ammu is more and more attracted by Velutha. One night they meet at the river where they sleep with each other. As it is not possible for an Untouchable to have a relationship or even an affair with somebody from a superior caste, they have to keep their meetings secret. But one night Velutha's father observes them and, feeling humiliated by his son's overbearing behaviour, reports everything to Mammachi and Baby Kochamma. As a consequence they lock up Ammu in her room. There Rahel and Estha find her and, through the locked door, ask her why she's being locked up. As she is angry and desperate, she blames the two children that without them she would be free and they should go away. Hurt and confused they decide two run away and stay at the abandoned house. But Sophie discovers the twins' plan and demands to be taken along. While the three are crossing the river, which has risen from heavy rainfall, their boat capsizes. Rahel and Estha are able to reach the other shore but Sophie cannot swim and is carried away by the current. After a long search for Sophie, the twins go to the abandoned house and fall asleep on its veranda. Neither do they see Velutha, who is sleeping on the veranda nor does he notice the twins' arrival. Earlier that night, Velutha had visited the house of Ammu's family, not knowing that their affair had been discovered. When he arrived Mammachi insulted him and chased him off. In the morning the children's absence is detected. Then they receive the message that Sophie Mol has been found dead by the river. Baby Kochamma goes to the police and wrongly accuses Velutha of attempting to rape Ammu and kidnapping the children. When the police find Velutha sleeping on the veranda of the abandoned house, they beat him up so heavily that he almost dies. The twins wake up...
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