Special Dynamics of Twin Relationship in The God of Small Things by Anna Moriarty on Prezi
The second to last chapter involves Estha and Rahel's final parting at age seven and their subsequent act of incest 24 years later. This scene. According to Ammu, the twins' relationship was more harmful than In this quote, the reader can see that Rahel is the other half of Estha that is. Sophie Mol made poor decisions when she died, made Estha and Rahel feel inferior, told Mol died, which was wrong on her part because she ignored helpful advice. . Although incest is such a forbidden thing, the novel only spends a few.
Inspector Mathew interviews the twins in chapter 19 and discovers that Velutha is innocent. He tells Baby Kochamma that if the children do not identify Velutha as their abductor, he will accuse Baby Kochamma of filing a false report. It is not until the next morning, after Velutha has died, that Ammu goes to the police station to set the record straight. Chapter 20 describes the scene at the train station when Estha is leaving for Calcutta, and then changes to the present tense, when Estha and Rahel begin to make love.
Chapter 21 flashes back to the point at which Ammu finds Velutha at the river and she and Velutha make love for the first time. Her portrait hangs prominently beside that of Reverend Ipe in the Ayemenem House. Ammu divorces him when the children are very young.
He was a violent alcoholic who not only beat his wife and children, but attempted to prostitute his wife to his English employer.
When Estha is an adult, Baba sends him back to Ayemenem and emigrates to Australia.
The God of Small Things
She is a beautiful and sardonic woman who has been victimized first by her father and then her husband. While raising her children, she has become tense and repressed. Ammu grew up in Delhi but, because her father said that college was an unnecessary expense for a girl, was forced to live with her parents when they moved to Ayemenem. She met her future husband at a wedding reception.
She later divorces him and returns to the Ayemenem House when he starts to abuse the twins. After the horrific climax to the affair, Ammu sends Estha to live with his father and leaves Rahel in the Ayemenem House while Ammu looks for work; but Ammu loses a succession of jobs because she is ill. Ammu dies alone in a cheap hotel at the age of thirty-one. Chacko has her cremated because the Syrian Christian Church will not bury her.
Throughout her life, Baby Kochamma is an insecure, selfish, and vindictive person. When she was a girl, Baby Kochamma fell in love with a handsome Irish monk named Father Mulligan who made weekly visits to her father. Although they did nothing more than flirt while talking about the Bible, when he moved to Madras she became a Roman Catholic and entered a convent in Madras in the hopes of being with him.
After her hopes were crushed, she left the convent and traveled to the United States to study, returning to India obese and devoted to gardening. She is later revealed to be cruel and insidious, because she is the one that convinces the twins to condemn Velutha; and it was due to her manipulations of Chacko that Ammu is forced to leave the house and Estha is returned to his father. In her old age, Baby Kochamma becomes a bitter and lonely woman addicted to television, after having locked herself inside the family house.
Deeply in love with Margaret, in part because she never depended on him or adored him like a mother, he marries her without telling his family. She grows tired of his squalor within a year, however, and divorces him around the time that their daughter is born. He was also unsuccessful at running the pickle factory, which started to lose money as soon as he attempted to expand the operation.
However, he is insistent that he is the sole owner of his factory, his house, and other possessions that he actually shares with women.
After her death, he emigrates to Canada. This trauma, in addition to being shipped to Calcutta to live with his father, contributes to Estha becoming mute at some point in his childhood. Estha never went to college and acquired a number of habits, such as wandering on very long walks and obsessively cleaning his clothes.
He is so close to his sister that the narrator describes them as one person, despite having been separated for most of their lives. Brutally beaten by her husband, she nevertheless cries at his funeral and shares many of his values, including an extremely rigid view of the caste system.
Mammachi loves Chacko with blind admiration and deeply dislikes Margaret Kochamma. She is from a strict, working-class London family and was working as a waitress in Oxford when she met Chacko. Marrying him because of his uncontrolled personality that made her feel free, Margaret soon realized that she did not need him to accept herself, and she divorced him.
Seventeen years older than his wife, he was extremely resentful of her and beat her regularly with a brass vase until Chacko ordered him never to do it again.
Pappachi Kochamma also beat his daughter and smashed furniture, although in public he convinced everyone that he was compassionate and neglected by his wife. In his old age, he rode around in his blue Plymouth that he kept entirely to himself. Although Ammu often chastises Rahel for being dirty and unsafe, she loves her very deeply, and Rahel is equally devoted to her mother. Although these events do not seem to deprive her of her quirkiness or brightness, they contribute to her sense of sadness and lack of direction in later life.
After Ammu dies, Rahel drifts between schools, receiving little attention from Mammachi or Chacko. Rahel then enters an architecture school but never finishes the course, marries an American named Larry McCaslin, and lives with him in Boston until they are divorced.
She moves to Washington, D. Kochu Thomban Kochu Thomban is the Ayemenem temple elephant. She is killed by a milk van. Eventually, he converts to Hinduism, staying in touch with Baby Kochamma, and dies of viral hepatitis.
Orangedrink Lemondrink Man The man who works behind the refreshments counter at the Abhilash Talkies movie theater forces Estha to masturbate him. With many connections and building influence, he is involved in a number of business ventures, including making signs for the pickle factory.
This does not help him rise to power in the party, however. He is a slightly awkward boy who grows up to be a secretary in Delhi.
She is a frank and spirited English girl characterized by her bellbottoms and her go-go bag. Although the twins are prejudiced against her because they have been so insistently instructed about how to behave when she arrives, she manages to win them over. This is partly because she is charming and outgoing, and partly because she rejected the advances of Chacko, Mammachi, and Baby Kochamma in favor of befriending Rahel and Estha.
Although Sophie Mol never takes to Indian culture, she does make a great effort with the twins before she accidentally falls into the river and drowns. Velutha became an accomplished carpenter and mechanic, and acquired an assurance that scared his father because it was unacceptable among Untouchables.
Velutha disappeared for four years and was hired by Mammachi upon his return to Ayemenem. A member of the Communist Party, he never quite fits into his role as an Untouchable, and he begins an extremely passionate affair with Ammu when Sophie Mol arrives in Ayemenem.
After Comrade Pillai refuses to help him, the police officers beat him, and Estha identifies him as their abductor. Velutha dies in jail. However, the novel also examines the historical roots of these realities and develops profound insights into the ways in which human desperation and desire emerge from the confines of a firmly entrenched caste society.
Roy reveals a complex and longstanding class conflict in the state of Kerala, India, and she comments on its various competing forces. Roy is also highly critical of the hypocrisy and ruthlessness of the conventional, traditional moral code of Pappachi and Mammachi. On the opposite side of the political fence, the Kerala Communist Party, at least the faction represented by Comrade Pillai, is revealed to be much more concerned with personal ambition than with any notions of social justice.
Class Relations and Cultural Tensions In addition to her commentary on Indian history and politics, Roy evaluates the Indian postcolonial complex, or the cultural attitudes of many Indians towards their former British rulers. Topics For Further Study Roy has published a great deal of political writing, has worked as an activist, and has been imprisoned for her political beliefs.
Research her political views and activities, and read some of her political writings. What have been the results of her activism in India and around the world? Narayan and Salman Rushdie. What innovations does Roy bring to Indian literature in English, and why are they important? Some readers and critics have found elements of The God of Small Things offensive or controversial.
Research the nature of the outcry against the novel, particularly in India and in Britain. Which aspects of the work were controversial, and why? What were the results of the controversy?
Describe your reaction to moments of the novel such as when Estha is forced to masturbate the Orangedrink Lemondrink Man, when Ammu and Velutha make love, and when Rahel and Estha make love. Discuss how elements of the forbidden and the taboo relate to the central themes of the novel. Communism has been a uniquely prominent force in the state of Kerala, India.
Research the activities of the various factions of the Communist Party in Kerala.
How did communism develop and spread in the region? How does the history of the communist parties in Kerala relate to the history of communism throughout South Asia? Discuss the state of communism in Kerala today. A related inferiority complex is evident in the interactions between Untouchables and Touchables in Ayemenem.
Vellya Paapen is an example of an Untouchable so grateful to the Touchable class that he is willing to kill his son when he discovers that his son has broken the most important rule of class segregation—that there be no inter-class sexual relations.
Characters such as Baby Kochamma and Pappachi are the most rigid and vicious in their attempts to uphold that social code, while Ammu and Velutha are the most unconventional and daring in unraveling it.
Roy implies that this is why they are punished so severely for their transgression. Another is that conventional society somehow seeks to destroy real love, which is why love in the novel is consistently connected to loss, death, and sadness. Also, because all romantic love in the novel relates closely to politics and history, it is possible that Roy is stressing the interconnectedness of personal desire to larger themes of history and social circumstances. Style Non-sequential Narrative The God of Small Things is not written in a sequential narrative style in which events unfold chronologically.
Instead, the novel is a patchwork of flashbacks and lengthy sidetracks that weave together to tell the story of the Kochamma family. This non-sequential narrative style, which determines the form of the novel, is an extremely useful authorial tool. It allows Roy a great deal of flexibility as she chooses which themes and events are most important to pursue. Because of this technique, called foreshadowing, Roy builds considerable tension and intrigue into The God of Small Things, and she is able to play with the expectation and anticipation that the reader feels.
Historical Context Because of the efforts of the political and religious leader Mohandas Gandhi, India became independent on August 15, at the stroke of midnight, after more than three hundred years of a British colonial presence. The British partitioned the former colony into the nations of India and Pakistan comprised of East and West regionsbut this was unsuccessful in quelling agitations between Hindus and Muslims. The borders were only rough designations of religious majorities, and millions died as Hindus in Pakistan moved to majority-Hindu India, and Muslims in India moved to majority-Muslim Pakistan.
Ammu was five years old inliving with her family in the Indian capital of New Delhi. Jawaharlal Nehruthe Prime Minister of India from Independence until his death instruggled to foster economic growth and became involved in various territorial disputes. Namboodiripad inbut Nehru dissolved it in Inthe year Rahel and Estha were born, India fought a limited war over a border dispute with China. As a result of the Chinese conflict, the CPI split between a pro-Russian faction, still called the CPI, and a faction that grew to be less influenced by foreign governments, called the Communist Party of India Marxist.
In the mid- s, a further split in the Indian communist parties formed the Naxalites, who advocated an immediate communist revolution, while tensions between Pakistan and India flared into war in Although Indira Gandhi remained in control of the larger, liberal faction, she was forced to forge alliances with left-wing parties in order to maintain control of the government. A series of leadership struggles begins inwhen Rao is forced out of power. Manmohan Singh is appointed prime minister of India in May ofafter the Congress Party unexpectedly wins the election and its leader Sonia Gandhiwidow of Rajiv Gandhideclines the post in order to appease Hindu nationalists.
Communism remains a powerful force in Kerala politics. Kerala is a lush and warm region of southern India with a uniquely high literacy rate. Public welfare systems have become much more substantial since independence, but the agricultural economy remains similar to the economy in the days of the British Raj.
India has one of the largest and fastest-growing economies in the world, and the trend towards privatization continues.
Kerala has a literacy rate near ninety percent, which is the highest of any state in India. Post-colonial Indian literature written in English is becoming a popular genre of its own, developed by writers such as R.
Indian writing in English is a wide and diverse genre of literature, and Roy is one of its most successful stars, even though she has published only one novel. Indira Gandhi was convicted of minor election law violations inbut she declared a state of emergency in order to stay in power.
Widely unpopular, this move allowed her to arrest opposition leaders and censor the press, and she was defeated in the elections. Gandhi was elected once again inhowever, and began to meet with foreign leaders while dealing with several insurgencies in India. Inshe sent Indian troops to storm a Sikh temple, killing the Sikh guerillas inside, and this event led to her assassination by two of her Sikh bodyguards. Rajiv Gandhi sponsored economic reforms, but he was criticized as an indecisive leader and lost the election.
Roy wrote her novel in the early s, during a period in which Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by a Sri Lankan Tamil in while campaigning for an election that political analysts believe he would have won. Narasimha Rao was prime minister. Rao became known for his sensitive handling of Hindu- Muslim tensions, his economic reforms, and his progressive foreign policy in response to the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Critical Overview The God of Small Things was an unprecedented international success for a first-time author. The novel has also caused some controversy in India, where it was first published.
Critics generally group the novel into the genre of post-colonial Indian literature that takes Indian politics and history as its subject. In the following essay, Trudell discusses the significance of the sexual encounters between Rahel and Estha, and Ammu and Velutha. The God of Small Things builds an incredible amount of anticipation and expectation for the definitive moment of the story.
All of the tension, desire, and desperation beneath the surface of the narrative converges into these expressions of love, which are examples of perhaps the greatest, most unthinkable taboos of all. This essay will discuss why the two forbidden sexual episodes in the final two chapters of The God of Small Things are so crucial to the history of the Kochamma family and the emblematic of the meaning of the novel.
Before discussing the significance of these episodes, however, it will help to establish how and why they are so closely connected. It is immediately clear that they have much in common as doomed, forbidden love trysts, and it is no coincidence that they are revealed and described next to each other, at the end of the narrative.
However, there are other, less obvious connections. The Love Laws represent the strict confines on human behavior—the caste systems, social pressures, and political restrictions that horrify people beyond expression when they are broken. The central action of the novel is about breaking them, and the tragedy that results from breaking them. For one thing, therefore, the forbidden love affairs at the end of the novel are crucial because they reveal the disgust and horror with the lovers that is at the root of the violence and tragedy directed against them.
Present-day Western readers probably do not consider inter-caste romance repulsive, but they are quite likely to be shocked and offended by incest.
Incest is as taboo in twenty-first-century Western society as an inter-caste sexual affair would have been in the s, and probably still is, in Kerala. It is also, however, the result of an entire lifetime of abuse, confinement, and imprisonment in a stinting social code. This code not only fails to protect Ammu against her father beating her with a brass vase, her father imprisoning her in the house even when she is an adult, and her husband beating her; it actually leads to these consequences.
What Do I Read Next? The Guide is R. Focusing on the story of Saleem Sinai, who was born at the stroke of midnight marking Independence, it includes elements of magic and fantasy, and it is highly allusive to classic texts including the Bible and Arabian Nights. The plot centers around the Indian Dr. Aziz, who is accused of raping an English woman. From Baby Kochamma to Chacko to the Orangedrink Lemondrink Man, people are prejudiced towards Ammu and her children, and take advantage of them.
In the course of the book, both Ammu and Rahel experience identity crises whose primary goals are, in a sense, discovering who and what they are in relation to their culture and family. Rahel travels back to Ayemenem to see her brother, but her journey is perhaps better described as a quest, through her memories, to discover herself and the roots of her history.
As though they were a rare breed of Siamese twinsphysically separate, but with joint identities. When Ammu studies herself in the mirror and tests whether a toothbrush will stay on her breast, she reveals that she understands herself through her body and her sexual identity, and she seeks out Velutha in order to discover the beautiful part of herself.
These struggles extend, by implication and because they are so closely connected to the political subtext of the novel, to the wider political and psychological identity struggles of all those afflicted by the oppressive social code of southern Indian culture. Joyce Hart Hart is a freelance writer and author of several books.
The setting is exotic; the voice is unique; the characters are complex; and the plot line is mysterious. Upon the first read of The God of Small Things, one cannot help but be drawn into the story that Roy has created, wondering, with each succeeding chapter, what could possibly happen next. There are questions about who these characters are; where the plot line is going; and what the missing details are that the author has purposefully left out, taunting the reader to hurriedly move forward.
Even the setting of the story is alluring with its freshly conceived scenery, unusual town names, striking tropical flora and fauna, as well as the strange social customs. And even though, after reading this book, one might sense the quality of writing of this gifted novelist, it might take a second, and maybe even a third, reading before one can actually pay attention to the underlying style that makes this novel so invigorating to read.
The purpose of this essay is to do just that: First, she captures the attention of the reader. Secondly, the words not only make sense, they describe the objects they are referring to with much greater depth than most single adjectives and metaphors could possibly do, and the author accomplishes this with minimum verbiage.
Dust is gritty and dry, like the weather she is trying to depict. The sweetness of the odor has attracted these characters to explore their world; but the consequences and the reactions of their world have made them sick.
They are not just two words haphazardly added together, but rather they are almost like short poems. They offer the reader vivid images through short expressive words. Other examples of combining words appear when the narrator pulls readers into the funeral of Sophie Mol, a flashback that occurs at the beginning of the novel. Not only do these words refer to sounds, they also provoke a sense of movement.
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Once again, Roy has created vibrant descriptions in using her newly conceived words. It is as if she has captured a whole movie scene, filled with motion and sound, with just a minimum use of syllables. There can be no coincidence in the proximity of the final chapters containing the two love scenes.
There are many obvious connections that can be drawn between the two. Both encounters contain the breach of societal taboos by people who have been broken by the constraints of society themselves. What other connections can be found between these two events? Incest is a universal taboo among all societies, both past and present. However, throughout the novel it is explained that, since their separation, the twins, who thought of themselves as two halves of one whole, have both felt incomplete.
The act of intimacy is implied as a sort of healing for both. What is the significance of this encounter for the development of both characters and the conclusion of the novel?
Do you think it suffices? That lay down who should be loved.
There are recurring references to the Love Laws throughout the story; they seem to play fundamental roles in the structure of this society and the story itself. They are the backbone of the history, the culture and the stratification of the society.
Do you think that this is one of the reasons Roy wrote this story? Or does she provide any justification for the breach in this propriety.