Posts tagged ‘the god of small things’

March 9, 2009

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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March 9, 2009

A Classic Tragedy in Unconventional Prose

by ashleywestenberg


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“Who should be loved. And how. And how much.”

It is not a question or statement that we often reflect on, yet Arundhati Roy does just that when presenting us with The God of Small Things. Roy gives us a story of truth: that we live in a judgmental world where love is entirely conditional.

The God of Small Things is a story of two identical two-egged twins living in Kerala India. Coming from divorced parents Rahel and Estha live with their mother Ammu, grandmother Mammachi, enemy-Aunt Baby Kochamma, and Uncle Chacko who is wished by them to be a surrogate father. Another important character, the God of small things, is ‘Untouchable’ Velutha the man Estha and Rahel love by day and who is loved by Ammu by night. Roy takes us through a shocking journey of discrimination, racism, sexism, betrayal, pedophilia, death and most importantly conditional love. In prose that is written like free verse poetry Roy chooses to narrate The God of Small Things through the eyes of Estha and Rahel allowing the reader to establish a genuine sense of reality in an easily acceptable manner. It also allows the reader to revisit childhoods’ vivid imagery, innocence, optimism and purity. The God of Small Things highlights social conflicts and shifts focus from within family, to Indian community, through to a larger scale of British assimilation. There is no direct blame in this book, because The God of Small Things is rather a book of details, small things that reflect issues much larger than themselves.

The God of Small Things is not to be read as a high paced thriller, it is a story to savor, to appreciate word for word and one that lingers. Roy does not waste words in the narration of her story but commonly repeats them to enhance their full meaning. Furthermore, this tale is not for one who is looking for immediate gratification or who lacks the patience to absorb each thought. Roy has a special sensitivity to language; she uses language as an art, contrasting colors and images, hiding or revealing. Roy explains that her repetitive style of writing is due to the comfort in repetition. As well, she says “I’m trained as an architect; writing is like architecture… that is why the words and thoughts of Estha and Rahel were so playful on the page… I was being creative with their design.”

The God of Small Things is a thoroughly enjoyable read that is delivered in an entirely unconventional way; a change that is easily embraced. However, Roy’s delivery of tragedy is classic, similar to what she calls The Great Stories, where the ending is foreseeable yet you want to know again. Arundhati Roy is a talented diverse writer who deserves to be read, recognized and appreciated. I believe Roy’s purpose in writing The God of Small Things was to remind the reader that literature, like life, is not and should not be typical. Or better quoted: “Never again will a single story be told as through it’s the only one.” (John Berger)

March 8, 2009

Don’t Read On The Bus

by scoobadoobabambamchooba

-By lam le

Born in southern India in November 24, 1961, Arundhati Roy wrote her first and only book The God of Small Things; which won the Booker Prize, in 1997. After winning the Booker Prize, Roy pursued a life as a political activist, focusing on writing about political issues. Some of her activist works consist of the Narmada Dam project, nuclear weapons in India and the activities of Enron in India.  As well, Roy is a spokesperson for the anti-globalization/alter-globalization movement and critic of neo-imperialism.  Writing from her home in New Delhi, Roy has continued to exclusively write for social causes, such as The End of Imagination, which is a critique of India’s nuclear policies (Arundhati).

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