The God of Small Things

by cwilcox2

The God of Small Things                                                                    Chris Wilcox

Big ideas in small details, that is what The God of Small Things is about. The book takes place in Ayemenem, India a village not many have heard of. It is written by an Indian woman by the name of Arundhati Roy who uses this setting to emphasize “tragedy”. Roy has one constant thematic idea that comes up consistently which shows what can happen when small things build up into big problems. Even something as simple as “love” can have harsh consequences as it does in this book.. Roy presents these ideas in a way which seems harmless, yet end up in terribly horrific tragedies. Though there are rules on who should “be loved and how much”, the characters attempt to love in their own way and become victims of circumstance because of their small choices along the way.

Within the first chapter Roy introduces a dead character, Sophie Mol. Later on it’s explained how she drowned accidentally while out on a boat with Estha and Rahel trying to run away. The reason they run away is fueled by prior events dealing with love that take place in the twin’s lives. Though this seems like a very simple and harmless thing, it ends up causing more trouble than it appears for Estha and Rahel later. This stays as a constant throughout the novel as other tragedies unfold.

Probably the most troubling issue that is presented is when the twin’s mother, Ammu, has an affair with a man from the lowest caste. This man turns out to be an exceptional carpenter and mechanic who’s name is Velutha. Though their love affair is one of many in the world and makes both Velutha and Ammu happy, it ends in tragedy. By acting from the heart, the lovers are caught in their act and punished. Not only does Velutha die as a result of being caught, but this also has rippling affects on the twins. Evidently this ties into the reason Sophie Mol is dead in the beginning and why Estha and Rahel end up having intercourse with each other towards the end.

Arundhati Roy takes all these stories and ideas and really twists them together. The God of Small Things is an intricate web of small, harmless actions which turn into something destructive in a strict, Indian community. Roy really shows how something as pure as love can be beaten and deformed to the point where it’s just not beautiful anymore. Through the eyes of Estha and Rahel, Roy really drives home this fact that small actions can have rippling affects on those around us; even the people we love.

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