The God of Small Things Book Analysis
The God of Small Things Book Analysis Character: Esthappen, referred to as Estha, and Rahel are twins. Both are innocent children who are still learning their manners. When they grow up and separate, Rahel moves to America and gets married, and Estha leaves to go with Babu, their father who has left them. When he returns to Ayemenem, Rahel also returns because they have a special bond. Their mother is referred to as Ammu. She raises her children well with structure. Ammu has an affair with Velutha, an untouchable, getting her banished from her home.
Velutha is a servant in the Ayemenem home, aand the twins grow to admire him. Mammachi is the twins’ grandmother; she does not talk much, but often plays the violin. She is married to Pappachi, and he physically abuses Mammachi with a vase until Chacko, their son, tells him to stop. Chacko is the twins’ uncle. His ex-wife Margaret is British, and they have a daughter named Sophie Mol. Margaret Kochamma and Sophie Mol move to Ayemenem when Joe, Sophie Mol’s stepfather, passes away in London. Baby Kochamma is the twins’ grandaunt.
She is very sneaky; for example, she accuses Velutha of raping Ammu, and forces Estha to tell the police that Velutha kidnapped the twins. Conflict: Many conflicts are presented in the book. One major conflict is the affair of Ammu with Velutha. Since he is an untouchable, he is not allowed to even come in contact with a touchable. Because of this affair, Ammu was banished from her own home and died early. Baby Kochamma accused Velutha of raping Ammu, but it was a lie only to protect their family image. Another conflict occurred during the death of Sophie Mol.
Sophie Mol joined the twins on a boat when they were trying to escape because Ammu was angry at them. The boat flips, and Sophie Mol drowns in the river. Estha and Rahel are unconscious and wake up next to Velutha, who Baby Kochamma accuses Velutha of kidnapping the twins, and she forces Estha to tell this to the police. Master Plot: One major master plot in the book is forbidden love. Velutha is loved by Ammu, and Estha and Rahel become attached to him later on. However, he is an untouchable servant so this love is forbidden. Because of this, Velutha is fired and Ammu is forced to leave her own home.
Another master plot is discovery. Estha and Rahel discover how they family interacts and how certain actions affect the relationships between family members. Another master plot is maturation. This book shows how the twins start off as innocent and naive children, but through experiences, such as Estha with the Orangedrink Lemondrink man, they become more mature as they become adults. Archetype: One archetype that appears in this book is the mother. Ammu has to raise Estha and Rahel on her own because their Babu left them. She is motherly in teaching them manners and being polite in public.
She also employs the father archetype. She has the highest authority over the twins and is powerful over them. The self is also sound in this book because Estha and Rahel are basically parts of a whole. They unconsciously think alike and have similar personalities. The trickster in this book is Baby Kochamma. She is deceiving because she forced Estha to tell the police that Velutha kidnapped the twins, in order to make her statement valid and avoid her own persecution for lying to the police. She also accuses Velutha of raping Ammu when they were actually in a secret love affair.
Theme: One theme portrayed in this book is tensions between social classes. The book mentions several times where Touchables and Untouchables are not allowed to interact with each other because Touchables are superior. Rahel and Estha’s family have a higher status than others because they own the pickle company, so they did not interact with poorer people in the book. Estha and Rahel are not allowed to interact with Velutha, but they try to do so anyways. Another theme is betrayal. Chacko is betrayed by Margaret Kochamma, his ex-wife, who does not care about him anymore.
The man selling drinks at the theatre betrays Estha. Tone & Irony: Roy writes in various tones. She writes in a sorry tone when describing moments of betrayal and family problems. When writing about the childhood of the twins, she sounds happier because of their innocence. An example of irony is that Comrade Pillai is a communist but does not want Velutha to join the revolution just because he is an untouchable. A revolutionary leader would want all the support he can get, but because Velutha is inferior, he does not accept him.
Setting & Location: The book is mainly set in Ayemenem, India during the 1960s. Most of the plot occurs in the Ayemenem House, which is also the Paradise Pickles & Preserves factory they own. Another setting includes the movie theatre called Abhilash Talkies in the city of Kerala when the family goes to watch The Sound of Music. Another setting is in the airport when the family picks up Sophie Mol and Margaret Kochamma. Writer’s Style: Arundhati Roy’s style is very different from others. She writes with great detail and incorporates deep imagery.
She writes in flashbacks to show how the twins’ childhoods still affect them as adults. She begins with the family’s lives when they are older, and go back to when the twins were children. This helps readers know what happens to the family before finding out about the events that occur in between. Symbols: Pappachi’s moth symbolizes fear. It is first mentioned in chapter 2 when Pappachi discovers a new moth species, but does not claim that he discovered it. This moth appears when Ammu is angry at Rahel for talking back to her.
It also appears when Rahel realizes that Sophie Mol died by drowning in the river. Another symbol is the toy watch that Rahel wears. It does not function but has a time painted on it. This shows that the tragic events that occurred during the twins’ childhood are frozen and cannot be changed. These events affected the entire family until the twins’ adulthood. Summary: The book begins when the Rahel finds out that Estha has returned to Ayemenem, so she returns there as well. A flashback then occurs, and the family is at the funeral of Sophie Mol; the twins are seven years old at this time.
Rahel does not understand that Sophie Mol is dead, and believes she is about to be buried alive. The entire family ignores Estha and Rahel throughout the entire funeral. The story fast forwards and Rahel visits their old home in Ayemenem, and Paradise Pickles & Preserves. It is also mentioned how the death of Sophie Mol affected the relationships in their family. Then another flashback occurs, and the family goes to Cochin airport to pick up Sophie Mol and Margaret Kochamma. Before going to the airport, they go to the movies to see The Sound of Music.
Here at the theatre, Estha cannot help but sing during the movie so he leaves and goes to the lobby. Here, an Orangedrink Lemondrink Man molests him, and this event haunts him forever. After the movie is over, they stay at a hotel. The next day, they pick up Sophie Mol and Margaret Kochamma from the airport. The twins are rude in greeting them, and Ammu becomes mad at them. The story fast forwards and Rahel meets Comrade Pillai. He shows her a picture of the twins with Sophie Mol before her death. The story flashes back to when the family is leaving the airport to go home.
The story is fast forwarded again to when Ammu passes away during work. She is cremated, and Chako and Rahel bring her to the crematorium. Estha is not with them, and a letter is sent to him informing him of Ammus’ death. There is another flashback and Sophie Mol has a welcome party. Rahel begins to bond with Velutha, and Ammu notices him and becomes attracted to him. Estha is not at the party, but he is in the factory. They find an old boat, and row to Velutha. He promises to fix the old boat. It is fast forwarded to the present, and Estha and Rahel meet in a temple.
It is flashbacked to Chacko and Margaret Kochamma’s wedding, and this wedding does not last. Margaret divorces Chacko and marries Joe, who dies later on. His death is what made Margaret Kochamma and Sophie Mol move to Ayemenem. Sophie Mol’s death is finally described. Baby Kochamma keeps Ammu locked up in her room in order to accuse Velutha of raping her. Velutha supports the communist movement, but Comrade Pillai, the leader of the movement, does not defend Velutha whatsoever. Velutha is banished, and Roy begins to refer to his as the “God of Small Things” because of Sophie Mol’s short death.
Sophie joins the twins on their boat ride down the river. The boat flips over, and Sophie Mol drowns and dies. The twins are unconscious and wake up next to Velutha. Because of this, Baby Kochamma accuses him of kidnapping the twins and she forces Estha to tell the same to the police. After this, Estha leaves Ayamenem and lives with Babu. This affects Rahel because her other half is leaving her. In the present, they meet in Ayamenem again and make love. They continue to meet up at the riverbank and admire “the small things”, which are creatures that they see there.