by chantalstrand

Looking at the reviews, one of the critiques the IndiaStar made about Roy’s work was that she focuses too much on style, and not enough on the plot itself. The reviewer feels that the story alone would be weak without the personal, childlike language used by Rahel and the patterns of repetition and capitalization. But the story is about the details, as opposed to a single, continuous plot line. Roy writes about the minute details that make up small events surrounding the big tragedies of the novel, and in giving the reader pieces of a major event, she softens the impact in a way. Not to say that this makes parts of the novel like Estha’s encounter with the Orangedrink Lemondrink man less damaging for the character or less disturbing for the reader, it just seems to make it easier to move past to the next detail. The pieces are less damaging separately than as a whole, and Roy’s showing that this is how Rahel and Estha cope with their pain. But I think in choosing to focus on language, she reveals more about her characters than if she were to flesh out the main plot events. In allowing the reader to see through Rahel’s youthful eyes, in absorbing the reader in Rahel’s own unique style of narration and language, the story becomes all the more disturbing. Sophie Mol’s death, Velutha’s brutal beating told by innocent Rahel become so much more tragic. The impact is emphasized more than the event itself, and because these events are seen through children’s eyes, these small details seem so much more relevant. Roy’s focus on detail rather than plot is far from a setback in my opinion. It sets her novel apart and fulfils her purpose of giving the reader a child’s view of life’s tragedies.


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