Themes (FAMILY (The God of Small Things = novel about family. …
The God of Small Things = novel about family. -
- explores the relationship between brother and sister, mother and child, grandparent and grandchild, aunt and niece/nephew, and cousins.
Novel looks at ways families forced to stick together and also how they fall apart.
- Unconditional family love = major issue. Sometimes we feel obligated to love our family members. On the other hand, just because you're related to someone doesn't mean you'll love them or that they'll have your back.
Just like in real life, family relationships in the novel can be complicated, confusing, and frustrating.
GUILT AND BLAME
Horrible things: Estha is molested; Sophie Mol drowns; a family breaks apart.
Narrator sometimes suggests that these things might have been destined to happen
---- only way for characters to make sense of the tragedies they are living through is to find someone to blame.
- Margaret Kochamma, for instance, finds it easiest to blame Estha for Sophie Mol's death, while Chacko blames Ammu.
Guilt = emotion very prominent in characters.
- we often see instances of guilt, or shame, where there should be none.
- For example, Estha feels incredibly guilty after the Orangedrink Lemondrink Man molests him, convinced that he did something wrong.
SOCIETY AND CLASS
The characters in The God of Small Things = constantly coming up against the forces of society and class.
Novel takes place after the caste system stopped being a legal social policy,
- Indian society was structured for centuries , according to very rigid social classes and boundaries, through what is known as the caste system.
- characters still find themselves limited by what is and isn't deemed socially acceptable for them.
- Social rules dictate who can love whom, which occupations people can adopt, and who is considered to be better than whom.
VERSIONS OF REALITY
Throughout The God of Small Things, we get to see how things look from different characters' points of view – different versions of the same reality.
- We see Estha and Rahel at two very different points in their lives, 23 years apart.
- There is a stark difference between their perspectives as 7-year-olds and as 31-year-olds.
MEMORY AND PAST
Time in GOST doesn't unfold in a linear way.
From moment the novel begins, we know what's going to happen, we just don't know how.
- move back and forth between 1969 and 1993, with a few other episodes included.
- start at the end, and the narrator uses the characters' memories to put the pieces together for us.
Estha and Rahel, separately and together, lose innocence throughout novel.
- Estha's loss of innocence – when he is molested, and when he is forced to condemn Velutha – [tries to prevent the same thing from happening to Rahel].
- narrator helps us see and understand the world from a kid's perspective.
"Love Laws" dictate "who should be loved, and how. And how much" (1.209-210).
Love and rules are constantly butting heads in the book.
- Ammu and Velutha's love = forbidden because of caste (social status) differences.
- Rahel and Estha's love = expressed physically at the end of the book, resulting in incest.
- Mammachi's feelings toward her son, Chacko,
- Baby Kochamma = in love with Father Mulligan (priest who can never marry)
In The God of Small Things, love constantly violates social rules. blur of the lines between familial and romantic love.
fear isn't just a reaction to something scary;
- Estha's fear ofOrangedrink Lemondrink Man + Rahel's fear that Ammu doesn't love her anymore : provoke the twins to run away across the river.
- Baby Kochamma and Mammachi's fear of social disgrace push them to lock Ammu away + send the police after Velutha.
Fear is a mechanism behind many of the major, life-changing moments of the novel, and the result is often more terrifying than the thing that was originally feared.
Especially impotant to Estha and Rahel.
- extensions of one another. When they are together, they are a whole being.
The more Estha and Rahel learn about the world around them, the more we see them taking on alternate identities and imagining themselves as someone else.
Mortality/ death, resonates throughout The God of Small Things.
not just the experience of death, but also that of witnessing it.
- Sophie Mol is going to die - very beginning, anticipation of and eventual reaction to her death keeps us reading.
- Velutha dies in an incredibly graphic and violent way, dies like something small, crushed and beaten like an insect
- Ammu's death scene is full of anguish and fear.