The God Of Small Things Discussion- The Ending

by tasharennie

The End of Small Things
Tasha Rennie

Upon finishing Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things, I was quite struck by the way in which the novel was concluded. I was both surprised and satisfied, and I found that it was definitely an ending that invoked thought and reflection on several issues.
Firstly, the novel ends with the description of the love scene between Ammu and Velutha. This is an event which is hinted at and implied almost from the beginning. It is often stated as the cause for the tragic events that take place over the span of the ever-shifting timeline. Additionally, this scene alone has caused quite a bit of controversy due to the sexual relationship between people of different castes: a Touchable and an Untouchable. Roy, herself, was faced with obscenity charges in India due to the depiction.
Why do you think Roy chose to end the book with the scene that is both pivotal to the plot and explicitly stated from the beginning? Do you think there was any intended significance to its controversial nature?
The second to last chapter involves Estha and Rahel’s final parting at age seven and their subsequent act of incest 24 years later. This scene involves much less description or explanation; it is only stated that, “There is very little that anyone could say to clarify what happened next. Nothing that (in Mammachi’s book) would separate Sex from Love. Or Needs from Feelings”(310). There can be no coincidence in the proximity of the final chapters containing the two love scenes. There are many obvious connections that can be drawn between the two. Both encounters contain the breach of societal taboos by people who have been broken by the constraints of society themselves.
What other connections can be found between these two events?
Incest is a universal taboo among all societies, both past and present. However, throughout the novel it is explained that, since their separation, the twins, who thought of themselves as two halves of one whole, have both felt incomplete. The act of intimacy is implied as a sort of healing for both. What is the significance of this encounter for the development of both characters and the conclusion of the novel? Do you think it suffices?
In the final act that involves the twins we see that, “once again they broke the Love Laws. That lay down who should be loved. And how. And how much”(311). There are recurring references to the Love Laws throughout the story; they seem to play fundamental roles in the structure of this society and the story itself. They are the backbone of the history, the culture and the stratification of the society. Roy’s story really seems to explore what can happen as a result of breaking these laws. Do you think that this is one of the reasons Roy wrote this story? Or does she provide any justification for the breach in this propriety. Would it have been possible for these characters to not break these rules? What other examples are there of the Love Laws being broken?
Finally, I find that endings, in general, can make or break a novel. However, with this story I found that I was actually rather torn. Due to the unique format and style, I couldn’t decide whether the novel provided enough closure since we never really find out what happens to Rahel and Estha; or whether closure was really needed. However, endings and conclusions tend to be a matter of taste and opinion with readers. So, what did you think of the ending? Were you satisfied?


2 Comments to “The God Of Small Things Discussion- The Ending”

  1. Sorry, but incest has actually been an accepted practice in several societies throughout the ages. In fact, in some societies, it has even been part of a ritual or coming of age rite.

  2. Just finished reading this. It’s beautifully written. So fluid. I fell in love with a lot of simple things which are said. The closure given to Estha and Rahel is what bothers me most though. Morally strenous. Although I like the fact that it seems ambiguous. If it is upto the readers to think of whatever they want, I’d rather imagine that they sobbed together and broke down after being apart for years.

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