The God of Small Things - Arundhati Roy


"The God of Small Things" by Arundhati Roy is a compelling and intricately woven narrative set in the southern Indian state of Kerala. The story follows the lives of fraternal twins, Rahel and Estha, and explores their tumultuous childhood, their family's dark secrets, and the consequences of transgressing societal norms.

The novel is primarily set in the late 1960s, with intermittent glimpses into the present day. The narrative unfolds through a nonlinear structure, jumping between different time periods and perspectives, gradually revealing the events that shaped the characters' lives.

Rahel and Estha grow up in a household ruled by their formidable grandmother, Mammachi, and their bitter, tyrannical great-aunt, Baby Kochamma. Their mother, Ammu, a divorced woman, and their uncle, Chacko, a divorced alcoholic, also reside in the family home. The family's social status and dynamics are further complicated by their affiliation with the "touchable" upper-caste Syrian Christian community.

As children, Rahel and Estha form a profound bond, seeking solace and understanding in each other amidst the chaos of their family life. However, their innocence is shattered when their English cousin, Sophie Mol, comes to visit. Tragedy strikes when Sophie drowns in a boating accident, forever altering the lives of everyone involved.

The narrative delves into the repercussions of Sophie's death, which extend beyond the immediate aftermath. Rahel and Estha's relationship is strained, and they are separated for years. The family is haunted by guilt, shame, and the burden of societal expectations. Secrets are gradually unveiled, including an illicit relationship between Ammu and Velutha, a lower-caste untouchable man, which leads to devastating consequences.

As the story unfolds, the narrative also explores the themes of caste oppression, political unrest, and the rigid social hierarchy of Indian society. It exposes the injustices faced by the lower castes and the consequences of defying societal norms, particularly in the context of a deeply stratified society.


"The God of Small Things" delves into the intricate web of human emotions, the impact of societal constraints, and the consequences of transgressing societal norms. One of the central moral themes of the novel is the destructive power of rigid social hierarchies and the resulting oppression and suffering they impose.

Arundhati Roy's narrative highlights the devastating consequences of living in a society that values tradition and social order above individual happiness and freedom. The characters' lives are profoundly affected by the confines of caste, class, and gender, resulting in a sense of entrapment, despair, and thwarted desires.

Another moral explored in the novel is the importance of love and empathy in the face of adversity. Despite the prevailing darkness and despair, moments of love, tenderness, and connection shine through. Roy emphasizes the significance of small acts of kindness, compassion, and understanding, which have the power to alleviate suffering and bring about moments of healing and redemption.

"The God of Small Things" ultimately serves as a poignant reminder of the enduring human spirit, the resilience of the marginalized, and the potential for transformative change. It encourages the readers to question societal norms, challenge oppressive systems, and embrace empathy and compassion as a means to create a more just and compassionate world.

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