The Craftsmanship of Arundhati Roy

    The novel “The god of small things” is not written in a non-Sequential narrative style, in which events are unfolded chronologically. Instead, the novel is a patchwork of flash backs and lengthy sidetracks that weave together to tell the story of the Ipe family.  The main events of the novel are traced back through the complex history of their causes, and memories as they relate to each other thematically and as they might appear in Rahel’s mind. Although the narrative voice is omniscient, it is loosely grounded in Rahel’s perspective and all of the episodes of the novel progress toward, the key moments in Rahel’s life. These non-sequential narrative styles, which determine the form of the novel is an extremely useful tool. It allows Roy a great deal of flexibility as she chooses themes and events which are most important to pursue. The author is able to structure her book so as to build up to the ideas and events at the root of the Ipe family’s experience.

   Throughout Roy’s novels the narrative voice emphasizes that it is building towards a mysterious, cataclysmic and all important event. Roy even provides details and glimpses of the event, which she refers to as “The loss of Sophie Mol” and quotes characters remembering it and referring to it vaguely for before the reader discovers what was happened. 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 readers feel.

    The book is narrated in the third person However, during a great part of the narrative. The reader sees everything through Rahel’s eyes. This gives a reader very special insight into the happenings and the characters. There are various moments which cross each other all throughout the book. One moment is in 1969 when Rahel is a Seven-year-old child. At these moments everything is seen through a child’s eye with a child’s feelings and rationale. Facts, objects and people are seen in a complete different light. The child’s view gives the book a very, special charm and poignancy it also brings in moments of light comic scenes. Another moment is twenty three years later of an adult woman. Searching for something she has lost in her childhood. The adult’s eyes it more critical.

    The story is set in the small town of Ayemenem in the Kerala province, southwest India. The main past of the plot takes place in 1969, a time when the caste system in India was still very strongly imbedded. It is also the time of increased awareness around ideology and influence Arundhati Roy describes her book as “an influence mix of experience and imagination”.

    The book is divided into twenty-one chapters. Having subdivision in them. Other chapters are very short. The story is not told in a linear time frame. The author takes the reader back and forth from the present to the past. Facts, thoughts and recollections are interrupted in one chapter and further expanded on a few chapters. At certain points, Roy follows no sentence or paragraph rules. This deviation from a formal style is used to enhance the atmosphere of the book.

    In the first chapter, Roy gives readers an outline of the story. The other chapters have no chronological order. The last chapter, depicting the scene, is actually the middle of the story itself. There is no real end to the story. The author lets the reader imagine what the future may hold for Rahel and Estha will they ever find happiness and how?. The author has structured the novel in this way in order to put more emphasis on the events that led up to the story. The consequences and the characters themselves involved.

    As this story focuses on two children and their impressions of the world, Roy uses various techniques to represents the children’s view point and their innocence, one technique that Roy employs is the capitalization of certain words and phrases to give them certain significance. Similarly, the children will restate things that the adults say in a new phonetic way, disjoining and recombining words. This echoes the children’s way of looking at the world differently from the grown-ups that surrounded them. They place significance on words and idea differently from the adults, thereby creating a new way of viewing the world around them. They pick up on certain feelings and ideas that the adults around them either fail or refuse to recognize, and give new significance to things that the adults may or may not ignore for their own purposes. The children use and repeat these phrases throughout the story so that the phrases themselves gain independence and new representational meanings in subsequent uses. Roy also employs a disjointed, non-sequential narrative that echoes the process of memory, especially the resurfacing of a previously suppressed, painful memory.

    The uncovering of the story of Sophie Mol’s death existing concurrently with the forward moving story of Rahel’s return to Ayemenem and reunion with Estha creates a complex narrative that reiterates the difficulty of the subject of the story and the complexity of the culture from which the story originates. Time is rendered somewhat static as the different parts of the one narrative line are intertwined through repetition and non-sequential discovery. This is also part of the way in which Roy uses real life places and people that she has shifted and altered for use within this story. All of the multifarious elements come together to construct a diverse look at one instance of Indian culture and the effect of the caste system on life and love during a time of post colonialism. As the children attempt to form their own. Identifies, naming and renaming themselves in the process, Roy places in parallel the effect of the process, by intertwining the past and the present. Similarly, this process echoes the progression of the Indian people, like all other cultures that attempt to find ways to maintain their traditions within a time of increasing globalization.

     Roy stretches the English language in all directions. In The God of small Things. Roy uses a variety of English and that is why she is successful to communicate to the world the culture she represents. The beauty her novel lies in the use of Indian English and the varieties of techniques she uses. Roy uses English, which very often deviates from the standard conventions use of words and sentence from regional language, the use of capital letter, use of italics, subjectless sentences, topicalization, faulty spellings, and single word sentences. Change of parts of speech, clustering of adjectives, rows and deviation from normal word order etc…

   Roy uses Malayalam the regional language Kerala, her native state. There is also the coarse Kottayam dialect of Malayalam. The first Malayalam word is ‘Veshya’ inspector Thomas Mathew retorted Ammu saying that Kottayam Police didn’t take statements from veshya or their illegitimate children which mean prostitutes. She writes “Thomas Mathew Said the Police knew all they needed to know and that the police didn’t take statements from veshyas or their illeigtimate children”. (ROY 8). The word ‘Punnyan kunju’ used. For Reverend lpe which means ‘little blessed one’. The word Mundu shofi is of Malayalam. Murlidharan, a level- crossing lunatic counted the numbers-onner, runner, mooner, mean one, two and three. The pharse, ‘Ruchi Lokathinde Rajavu’ refers to comreade K.N.M. Pillai’s unsolicited contribution which became a permanent feature on the paradise pickle’s labels. It is used as the literal translation of ‘Emperors of Realm of Taste’ 

     Malayam Slogan cultured by workers ‘Tholilatiekta zindhabad’ mean workers of the world unites’. The title of kathakali performance, ‘karna shabadam’ means karna’s oath, ‘duryodhana vadham’ means the death of Duryodhana. ‘Madivo and mad aayirkkuml’ means must be enough. There are the words and phrases like ‘ivodya’ means here, Modalali means landlord, ‘poda patti’ means go dog. ‘Eda’ Cherukka means ‘Ay! Fellow’, orkunnilley means ‘don’t you remember? Kando means ‘can you see?’. The other instance of Malayalam words are found in the closing of Malayalam words are found in the closing pages of The God of small Things: Naaley means Tomorrow. There is a use of Malayalam kinship terms like ‘kochamma’, ‘pappachi’ and ‘Mammachi’, ‘chachen’, ‘chetan and cheduthi’, ‘Ammaven’, ‘Appoi and Ammai’, and ‘Ammachi’, and also words like ‘Mon’ and ‘Mol’, ‘In Malayalam’ Mol is little girl and Mon is little boy.

     Other Malayalam words are apparel or ornament such as ‘mundu’, ‘chatta’, ‘Mundukavani’ ‘kunukku earrings’ and soon she also food uses food that are of special appeal to the Malayalee palate like ‘chakkavilaichathu’, ‘kappa and meenvevichathu’, ‘idiappams… kanji and meen’ and ‘avoloseoondas’. “Pandoru Mukkuranmuthinupoyi. Pandinjarankattathumunji Poyi. Arayathipennupilachupoyi . Avaney kadalamma kondupoyi”. (ROY 219)

    These lines means once a fisherman went to the sea the west wind blew and swallowed his boat. His wife on the shore went astray. So Mother Ocean rose and took him away.

There is also a popular Malayalam song appeared in the novel.
Koo-Koo kokum theevandi
Kooki Paasum theevandi
Rapakalodum theevandi
Thalann nunikum theevandi. (ROY 285)

By using Malayalam words, phrases and lines from folk songs and film songs, Roy creates a typical Kerala background in the novel.

Another device reflected in The God of Small Things is a use of bracketing in the first chapter itself. Rahel’s life after the death of her mother is briefly narrated by using bracket. The second use of parenthesis shows the sorrow experienced by Chacko and Mammachi at the death of Sophie Mol. There are several incidents given within brackets which are part of the narration. Roy uses the technique of brackets in The God of small Things to explain her own point of view to make the narration effective and to show the innermost feelings of the characters.

The use of repetition in The God of small Things. There is use of verbal repetition and antithesis. Words, phrases and sentences are frequently repeated. The repetition of determiner is “one corner for cooking, one for clothes, one for bedding rolls, one for dying in”. The repetition of preposition is “Past floating yellow times… past green mangoes….. Past glass casks of vinegar with corks…. Past shelves of pectin and preservatives… Past frays of bitter gourd… Past gunny bags… Past mounds of best green peppercorns…”

The Repetitions of negatives is “No miles stones marked its progress; No froes grew along it, No mists rolled over it, No birds, circled if.” Apart from these repetitions, Roy uses variety of repetitions for example. In the lobby the orange drinks were waiting. The lemon drinks were waiting, the melty chocolates were waiting. The coming soon! Posters were waiting…. Shut up or get out, get out or shut up. Roy employs the device of subject less sentences also…. “Not when Mammachi died.” And “not when chacko immigrated to Canada”. She also uses a word instead of sentence” A stranger”. “Swollen”, “Noxious”. “Wild”, “sick”, “Sad”, “Rani”, “Rushing inky cvater”, etc…. Roy uses ten pounding words to serve special purposes.

The beauty of Roy’s narration is strengthened with the use of uses of colour – denoting words. Like, Red bananas, a blue church sky, blue glass bottles, The Sea was black, The spume vomit green, A thin red cow, yellow maps. Black suit, white gown and Moss green.

In The God of small Thing, Roy has handled human emotions and delicate feelings of love, guilt and spit in the rhythmic made of a melodious symphony highlighting the mindset of the typical womanhood in perfect. Synchronization with the social atrocities revealing barren of humanities outrageously. Through her own gender sensitive language, she announces the new “Nealey”, learning behind a mind blowing yet a thought provoking messages for the posterity thereby establishing the novel to be adjudged as a classic specimen of the post-colonial impact.

In the fourth chapter, the researcher deals with the social issues depicted in the novel. Since the novel is written by a contemporary writer, the writer reflects on major contemporary issues through her characters. 

Contemporary Social Issues

The author’s role is merely a reflection of what the society has to offer. The writer does not go forth to suggest any changes. Writers and story tellers are the individuals who have designated themselves with the daunting task of recreating the time, place and characters of whatever era they live in. There are different fiction genres each demonstrate a unique facet of the writer’s society. A literary writer, of course, will display what everyday life was really like. Writers write because they have something to say to the world; they have a lesson to teach, a lesson so important to them, be it moral, intellectual, idealistic or cynical reasons that they have sculpted an entire story for the sheer purpose of teaching that lesson.

Indian history and politics shape the plot and meaning of The God of small Things in a variety of ways. Some of Roy’s commentary is on the surface, with jokes and snippets of wisdom about political realities in India. 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 in India. She also comments on its various competing forces through her novel “The God of Small Things”.

Arundhati Roy portrays the contemporary Social issues such as love, social and racial discrimination, the low and high caste problems, abuse of children, the problem in the inter caste marriage and caste fanaticism in her novel, The God of Small Things.

. It is a story about a hapless, lonely woman Ammu who was abandoned by her husband and totally neglected by her family. It shows her continuous struggle to eke out the livelihood with honor. She struggles hard but succumbs ultimately to the injustices done to her. This story shows how the god of small Things represented by the character like Ammu was defeated in patriarchal society. The story, told here in chronological order, although the novel shifts around in time, primarily takes place in a town named Ayemenem or Aymanam new part of kottayam in Kerala state of India. The temporal setting shifts back and forth from 1969 when fraternal twins Rahel and Estha are seven years old to1993. The twins are reunited at age 31. Much of the story is written in a viewpoint relevant to the seven year old children.

The story is set in the caste society of India. The word ‘caste’ is derived from the Portuguese word ‘casta’ which means pure or unadulterated (sharing a Latin root, with the word ‘chaste’). The caste system in India is an important part of ancient Hindu tradition and dates back to 1200 BCE. In ancient India there developed a social system in which people were divided into separate class communities. These communities are known in English as caste. It is generally believed that the origin of the caste system can be found in Hinduism, but it has plagued the entire Indian Social System. The caste system in the religious from is basically a simple division of society in which there are four castes arranged in a hierarchy and below them the outcast. But socially the caste system was more complicated, with much more castes and sub- castes and other division. The religious theories explain how the four varnas were founded, but they do not explain how the jats in each Varna or the untouchables were founded. According to Rig Veda, the ancient Hindu book, the primal man purush destroyed him to create a human society. The different varnas were created from different parts of his body. The Brahmans were created from his head, the kshatrias from his hands, and the vaishias from his thighs and the sudras from his feet. The varna hierarchy is determined by the descending order of the different organs from which the varnas were created. Other religious theory claims that the varnas were created from the body organs of Brahma, who is the creator of the world.

Presently, there are about 3000 castes and 25000 sub castes in India, each related to a specific occupation. This occupation is must be remembered and has been assigned to them by the ancient rishis. These are different castes fall under four basic Varnas: Brahmins–priests, Kshatryas –warriors, Vaishyas–traders, Sudras– laborers

Arundhati Roy has dealt with the problem untouchability, which plaguing the Indian society in her booker prize winning novel The God of small Things. She is appalled at the barbarous treatment meted out to the lower section of the society, even in this postcolonial age. In this regard she says that: “Fifty years after independence, India is still struggling with the legacy of colonialism, still flinching from the cultural insult”. The entire incidents in The God of Small Things take place in the southern state of Kerala in India, and revolve around a forbidden relationship between a Syrian Christian divorcee and mother of two children, Ammu and a low caste carpenter, velutha. The temporal setting shifts back and forth from 1969 when Rahel and Estha a set of fraternal twins are 7 years old and 1993 when the twins are reunited at age 31. It is a story about the right of the women and the untouchables versus age old restrictions imposed by the traditionalist Indian society.

One can see social discrimination directly in this novel. Because most of the places the low caste people are directly calls by their caste name. The high class and high caste people calls their caste name instead to call their name. Social discrimination is an unequal treatment of person, for a reason which has nothing to do with legal rights or ability. The story of the novel is set in the caste society of India especially in Kerala. The author points out the names of the low caste in her novel such as Parayan, Paravan and Pulayan.

One can see these names in this book when they struggle for don’t call them by their caste names. They were demanding that untouchables no longer be addressed by their caste names. “They demanded not be addressed as Achoo parayan, or Kelan Paravan, or Kuttan Pualyan, but just as Achoo, or Kelan, or Kuttan.”(ROY 69)

The so called untouchables such as paravan or Parayan were not permitted to touch the higher caste people or enter into their house. This extreme form of discrimination was deeply embedded over centuries in the Indian society starting from the time of Portuguese colonialism during which Christianity Roman Catholicism because it is the Major religion in Kerala. The second degree of synod of biamper organized by Portuguese Archbishop of Goa, Alexio de Menezes, allowed untouchability to be practiced by Christians of Kerala. Portuguese soldiers who married Indian ladies and their off springs were held at high esteem. The untouchables were considered to be a polluted being. They had the lowliest jobs and lived in subhuman conditions. In India, the caste system was considered a way to organize society.

Untouchable people were cruelly treated by the high caste people and they didn’t think that the untouchables are human beings. They treat them as an animal. These lines of Arundhati Roy openly show the condition of untouchables in Kerala.

Pappachi would not allow Paravans into the House. Nobody would. They were not allowed to touch anything that Touchables touched. Caste Hindus and caste Christians. Mammachi told Estha and Rahel that she could remember a time, in her girlhood, when Paravans were expected to crawl backwards with a broom, sweeping away their foot prints so that Brahmins or Syrian Christians would not defile themselves by accidently stepping into a Paravan’s foot print. In Mammachi’s time, Paravans, like other Untouchables, were not allowed to walk on public roads, not allowed to cover their upper bodies, not allowed to carry umbrellas. They had to pat their hands over their mouths when they spoke to divert their polluted breath away from those whom they addressed. (ROY 73-74)
Vellya Papen an untouchable was talking with Mammachi her sister-in-low Baby kochamma said that “She said (among other things) - How could she stand the smell? Haven’t you noticed, they have a particular smell, these Paravans?’ ” (ROY 78)

They didn’t allow untouchable into touchables homes and factory but if they want they did allow but it made many problems among the Touchables. So they are very conscious while treat those so called Paravans, Palayans, Parayans and untouchables.

“Mammachi rehired Velutha as the factory carpenter and put him in charge of general maintenance. It caused a great deal of resentment among the other Touchable factory workers because, according to them, Paravans were not meant to be carpenters. And certainly, Prodigal Paravans were not meant to be rehired.

To keep the others happy, and since she knew that nobody else would hire him as a carpenter, Mammachi paid velutha less than she would a Touchable carpenter but more than she would a Paravan. Mammachi didn’t encourage him to enter the house ( expect when she needed something mended or installed) she thought that he ought to be grateful that he was allowed and the factory premises at all, and allowed to touch things that Touchables touched. She said that it was a big step for a Paravan.”. (ROY 77)

Another example for this kind of discrimination from The God of Small Things is that the words of comrade KNM Pillai. When he was talking with chacko, he said “see her, for example Mistress of this house. Even she will never allow Paravans and all that into her house. Never even (cannot Persuade her. My own wife of course inside the house she is Boss.”(ROY 78)

Upper caste women could lose her caste if any male from the low caste like palayan, Parayan or Mannan happened to see her or touch her in any way. Then she would expelled from her caste or had to move with the “ low caste” person or her outcome of her situation would fall under the jurisdiction of the elders of her caste but here in “ The God of small Things” that kind of tragedy is not happened but Ammu and Velutha was punished by their families. Ammu was punished by locking inside her room and velutha was humiliated and beaten by Police. Velutha’s father was first found Velutha’s illegal relationship and unmatched relationship with Ammu. So he was afraid to tell this to his touchable master Chacko and Mammachi. “An old Paravan, who had seen the Walking Backwards days, torn between Loyalty and Love.” (ROY 255) 

When they came to know the relationship of Ammu and Velutha they expressed their anger through beating and humiliating the family members of Velutha and him. They also tortured Ammu emotionally. At the moment when they heard this, they didn’t accept and believe it but when they confirmed that they did all this things. 

“The lovers spring from his loins and hers. His son and her daughter. They had made the unthinkable thinkable and the impossible really happen.

Suddenly the blind old woman in her rickrack dressing grown and her thin grey hair plaited into a rat’s tail stepped forward ad pushed Vellya Paapen with all her strength. He stumbled backward, down the kitchen steps and lay sprawled in the wet mud. He was taken completely by surprise part of the taboo of being an Untouchable was expecting not to be touched and she spitting on the rain, THOO! THOO! THOO! And Vellya Paapen lying in the slush, wet, weeping, grovelling, offering to kill his son. To tear him limb from limb. “Mammachi was shouting, ‘Drunken dog!’ Drunken paravan liar!”(ROY 256)

When she heard that her daughter’s relationship with velutha she can’t bear that. So she scolded and humiliated vellya pappen. When she encounters velutha she humiliated him and trapped him to police by foisting case that he ( velutha) tried to rape Ammu and kidnapped her three grandchildren. All this conspiracy was made by Baby Kochamma for saving herself from filing false case. So the police caught him and beats him heavily when they caught him they said that “The Paravan had been caught” (ROY 314) 

By their beating velutha was severely attacked and lose his life they didn’t think velutha even as a human being. In words Arundati Roy’s says:

His skull was fractured in three places. His nose and both his cheekbones were smashed, leaving his face pulpy, undefined. The blow of his mouth had split open his upper lip and broken six teeth, three of which were embedded in his lower lip, hideously inverting his beautiful smile. Four of his ribs were splintered; one had pierced his left lung, which was what made him bleed from his mouth. His spine damaged in two places, the concussion had paralysed his right arm and resulted in a loss of control over his bladder and rectum. Both his knee caps were shattered. (ROY 310)

Not only this Mammachi also punished and humiliate Velutha by spitting on his face and dismissed him from her pickle company “Paradise Pickles & Preservers”. “Mammachi spat on Velutha’s face. Thick spit. It spattered across his skin. His mouth and eyes.” (ROY 284)

Ammu punished by Chacko, her brother, she was sent out from her mother’s house because Chacko thought that his daughter Sophie Mol’s death was done by Ammu’s children. So he forced Ammu to send her children to their father and she was also going out from his house without an option. Ammu sent Esthappan Yako to his father and left Rahel with her grandmother Mammachi. She went to many places for job but couldn’t maintain and attend daily because of her ill health. She was sufferin from asthma. Separation from her children, without any companions, ill health and without any care made Ammu very weak and lets to death. Ammu died in a lodge without the knowledge of others. The church also refused to bury Ammu’s body in their churchyard. So Chacko took her body to electric cremation station where orphan poor and low caste people were buried and cremated.

Along with the caste system, readers see an economic class struggle. The ipes are considered upper classes. They are factory owners-the dominating class. Mammachi and Baby Kochamma would not deign to mix with those of a lower class even Kochu Maria, who has been with them for years, would always be a servant of a lower class.

However, Roy shows other types of less evident discrimination. For example, there is a religious discrimination. It is unacceptable for a Syrian Christian to marry a Hindu. In more than one page package of the book the readers feels Rahel and Estha’s discomfort at being half Hindu. Baby Kochamma constantly makes disparaging comments about the Hindus. On the other hand there is discomfort even between the Christian religious sectors, as is shown by Pappachi’s negative reaction when Baby Kochamma converts to Catholicism. “ Baby Kochamma disliked the twins, for she considered them doomed, Fatherless waifs, Worse still, they were Half–Hindu Hybrids whom no self–respecting Syrian Christian would ever marry.” (ROY 45)

Arundhati Roy also pictures the racial discrimination in this novel. Chacko suffers more by veild racial discrimination, as it seems his daughter also did. His English wife’s parents were shocked and disapproving that their daughter should marry an Indian, no matter how well educated.

Margaret Kochamma’s Father had refused to attend the wedding of his daughter. He disliked Indians, he thought of them as sly, dishonest people. He couldn’t believe that his daughter was marrying one (ROY 240).

Sophie Mol at one point mentions to her cousins Esthar and Rahel that they are all “wog” while she is “half- wog”. Not only Chacko but Rahel is also affected by racial discrimination, when she was in Washington she was humiliated and teased by white lads. They called her vulgarly and also called her as a black bitch “Hey , you! Black bitch! Suck my dick!” (ROY 187) 

Arundhati Roy also shows other kind of discrimination as well as male chauvinism in her novel The God of small Things. Chacko often says he is the only heir of his parents assertes. So Ammu doesn’t have any rights to inherit their parent’s property. Even Ammu works more than Chacko for the factory.

Ammu did as much work in the factory as Chacko, whenever he was dealing with food inspectors or sanitary engineers. He always referred to it as my factory, my pineapples, my pickles, legally, this was the case because Ammu, as a daughter, had so claim to the property of her parents. “Thanks to our wonderful male chauvinist society; Ammu said. Chacko said, what’s yours is mine and what’s mine is also mine.” (ROY 57)

Not only in asserts but the man’s desires are also prevented by tradition. When Ammu had an affair with Velutha, the society saw this as a terrible mistake but when Chacko did the same things, the society didn’t bother about that, because that mistake was done by a man.

Mammachi was aware of Chacko’s libertine relationships with the low caste women in the factory, but had ceased to be hurt by them. When baby Kochamma brought up the subject, Mammachi became tense and tight–lipped.“He can’t help having a Man’s Need’s’; she said primly.”(ROY 88)

Another example for male chauvinism is a husband’s ill-treatment towards his wife, when his wife called him respectively and in the respectful manner while he called his wife with very cheap words and treated her and called her like an animal. “He has gone to Olassa. He’ll be back any time now; she said. She referred to her husband as ‘addeham’ which was the respectful form of ‘he’, whereas ‘he’ called her ‘edi’ which was, approximately Hey, you!”(ROY 270)

Most of the untouchables are illiterate, So the touchables and high class peoples used their ignorance and made them slaves. They exploited their hard work and did not have idea to make them literate. If the illiterate get knowledge they will think about their conditions and their rights. So the high class society keeps them as poor, illiterate and slave with the intention of use their hard work. The untouchable peoples believe that being an untouchable is a punishment for having been bad in a former life. By being good and obedient to an untouchable can obtain a higher rebirth. Velutha’s lack of complacency causes him many problems throughout the Novel. “It was not entirely his fault that to live in a society where a man’s death could be more profitable than his life had ever been” (ROY 267)

The Touchables are very class conscious. They have a need to maintain their status in the society. So they make the untouchable down and make their status up. So the untouchability and social discrimination is a way of protecting one’s privileged position in society. So the low laws are made by the traditionalists. That is “Who should be loved, and how. And how much.” (ROY 33)

This novel can be considered as a satire against each and every aspect of this contemporary society and presents a dystopoeic vision. No characters in novel seem to be perfect or at last fair. It is not a satire against the individual but also the institutions. 

To begin with, the class-conflict and the caste system are the deeply rooted social evils of our society. The lower classes of people always suffered and were insulted in each walk of life. The institution alone cannot be blamed for these disorders in the society. It is the individual who join together to form the institution or society. Low and order, constitution, politics and etc have been framed to guard and help people. It is the individual, the member of the institution or the society who make it turn against the society and its welfare.

Thus, the novelist brings out the evil and duel tendencies of man, pulling the masque off their faces and holding them up to ridicule. The man has turned self-centered and lacks mutual compassion and concern. He suppresses his fellow beings in ordered to better himself. He is ready to go to any extent to attain his selfish needs. Culture, tradition and love are meaningless terms in this self-centered society. 

Thus, we see that untouchability is still being practiced in Indian society. There has to be some proper implementation of laws to curb this social discrimination. Arundhati Roy needs to be congratulated for exposing this foul play of postcolonial India to the entire world. Of course, there has been numerous work on this theme before this novel but the fact that this novel went on to win the Booker Prize has definitely brought Roy and her novel much more appraisal than the other writers.

Perhaps no other single work of fiction has made such a momentous impact in Indian English literature in recent years as Arundhati Roy’s The God of small Things. Indeed, the work has been widely acclaimed as an important book of the post-modernist literary trend that has motivated such major novelists like salman Rushdie, Upamanya chatterji, Shashi Tharoor and Vikram Seth, along with several others very few novelists have been able to cut a high niche with just one novel. Roy however is one of the few Indian English writer actively interested in contemporary social-political issues which are amply evidences in a number of articles, interviews and books.

Roy in her novel reflects all these concerns, a disturbing awareness and anxiety for those who fare been marginalized by the age-old oppressive system of society. Roy portrays the characters that are devastated one way or the other by the unjust systems that force them to act against their will. To Roy, the family is a microcosm of a large culture. It is the foundation unit in any society that upholds its beliefs, custom and traditions.

Although Roy asserts that it is a novel on the nature of human beings not in India. India transforms itself from being a country fragmented with contradicting religions ideologies and colonizers cultural and socio-political hegemony to a human being in the characters of Ammu, Estha, mostly Rahel and Baby Kochamma. The novel describes how the cultural cocktail has been prepared to suppress the poor, the weak and the alienated in the name of globalization which sneaks into human beings lives and how it poisons them.

Roy’s mastery of metaphor and creativity in wordplay may just be among the best in the English language today. This is unique literary accomplishment. The author’s lyrical narrative flows as a stream of consciousness revelation. Her sentence structure has poetic license. Time is fluid one is offered intriguing glimpses of her characters who describe themselves at one point as character in a play. With her chapters as scenes, Roy draws on deep sand deeper into the book with the plot she spins. Her characters are interesting and the local is exotic. They are untouchables and touchable, third world communities, inbred Syrian Christian who carry the influences of a colonial past, Marxism and American culture impinging on the third world countries, Roy fixes her locate in the native fauna and flora which adds to the fascination to the novel.

Roy could be fixed in the feminist homework, naturally. Feminism is not simply a struggle to end male chauvinism or a moment to ensure that women will have equal rights with men it is a commitment to eradicating the ideology of domination that permeates western culture on various levels of sex, race, and class and commitment to reorganizing the U.S. society so that the self-development of people can. Take precedence over imperialism, economic expansion and material desires.

It is also a collection of social theories, political movement and moral philosophies largely motivated by or concerned with the liberation of women. In simple termed, feminism is a belief in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes, and a movement organized around the conviction that biological sex should not be the pre-determinant factor shaping a person’s social identify or socio-political or economic rights. Many feminists are concerned with the practice of social, political, economic in equalities that discriminate women. Some have also argued that gendered and sexed identifies, such as ‘man’ and ‘women’, are socially constructed. Feminists may disagree over the sources of in equality how to attain equality and the extent to which gender and gender-based identifies should be questioned and critiqued: some of this disagreement may stem from continuing pressure to conform to masculine norms. 

Post-colonial feminists criticize certain ideas of western forms of feminism, notably radical feminism and its most basic assumption, universalization of the female experience. They argue that this assumption cannot so easily be applied to women for whom gender oppression comes second too. For example racial or class oppression.

Arundhati Roy is one of the foremost novelists of this addition, showing exceptional awareness of the social crises and sensitivity to the problems. Roy is one of the Indian English writers who do not remain ensconced in the irony tower and more in the glitter and glamour as so many other literary celebrities do. Roy through her writing proves that she is the master of style and technique. She writes in a style truly different from that of the other Indo-English novelists both male and female of the country. She writes differently to a great extent and in doing so, breaks many of the accepted rooks of language. Her proclivity to experiment with language and its poetic attributes as well as her rapidly scratching points of view. Seeking to fuse the past and the present great difficulties in the way of the readers. Over all, The God of small Things is a very well written and very touching read that will keep you interested until the very last page. 

Arundhathi Roy’s The God of Small Things is similar to Midnight’s Children more ways than one. Both the novels deal with several generation of a family of a minority community in India. The characters in both the novels are on the run from one country to another. Both the novels take a great deal about pickles. Both the novels deal with loss of identity of protagonists in the burgeoning population of India. Midnight’s Children stresses how the political events before and after independence influence the destiny of the Sinai family and the God of Small Things stresses how the economic social turmoil churn the lies of the pie family. Through there are many similarities between this novel, there is a major difference in the technique, mannerisms and quality of vision.

Roy is restricted, whereas Rushdie knows no restraints and his imagination runs away with him. Rushdie’s tirade against Indira Gandhi reveals his insensitivity: he time and again refers to her as widow. Rushdie’s condemnation of India stems from gross distortion and misunderstanding of history. The book is far from honest. It is intended to hurt. On the contrary, Roy’s book is realistic. She too depicts the failures and disappointments of a minority family in a Hindu dominated world. Her novel is splashed with gentle irony and humour in the midst of failures, suffering and dead ends and creates understanding of human condition and sympathy for humans.

Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children expresses the metaphorical connection in a very literal way. He writes an autobiography that in its delineation of boyhood is as poignant as W. O. Mitchell’s Who has Seen the Wind, as an authentic in Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn and as ribald as Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint. Thus Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children is a landmark in Indo-English literature and Saleem’s parentage is symbolic of his connection to the literature he has enriched.

To sum up, In Chapter I the researcher has made a brief survey of the position of women in various contexts besides providing a bio-sketch of the novelist. Also this chapter puts forth a preview of the critical estimate accorded to her till date, along with the outline summary of the novel. It further establishes Arundhati Roy as an ‘Indo-Anglian’ novelist, fixed against the social milieu and the fictionalistic orientation of her times which secures for her a special place among the modern Indian women-novelists.

Chapter II is an attempt to trace the convergences between contemporary feminist thought and post-colonialism. It deals, with the female characters Ammu and Rahel from a feminist perspective as well as post-colonial point of view. Arundhati Roy’s feminist thoughts are given through the characters of Ammu and her daughter. Roy vivaciously portrays women as victims, literally that of an in animate toy in the hands of men. In this context, she interprets how women are much trespassed than being transgressed and vehemently hustled to an auxiliary status in the society.

Chapter III gives a detailed account of style and techniques in the novel. This chapter also shows some psychological elements which play a vital role in the inner mind of some of the major characters of the novel.

Chapter IV is an attempt to trace contemporary social issues such as social discrimination; caste fanaticism, racial discrimination, and the problems in inter caste marriage and the problems between high class and low class people. This chapter analyses these problems in detailed manner. It deals with the characters Ammu, Velutha, Rahel and Estha and their sufferings in the patriarchal society. It also deals with the sufferings of low caste people, received from the people those who called themselves as high class. 

Chapter V is the Summation of the whole thesis. It presents the findings of the researcher. Here the uniqueness of the novel is found through the presentation of the Ayemenem society. This chapter shows that Roy is fit to be called as a post-colonial feminist author, who has ventured to present the contemporary social issues through her characters.

Roy knows the immense power concealed in a single ironic description that is compressed, Concise and deeply discomforting. She appears to smile sardonically admitting the readers into her vision of irony and share in the pleasure it affords at seeing the ridiculous situation created in this manner. She sharpens her language to be satirically effective. Employing various made that often remind us of various masters of satire ranging from Ben Johnson to Jonathan swift, pope, Dickens and Huxley.

Never before had been seen such a tremendous enthusiasm and courage as one sees in this novelist; allegory, symbols, fantasy, magic realism, narrative fluctuating backwards and forwards and backwards in time. The compelling use of narrator, fluency in story felling, and the unveiling of layers and layers of meaning have all become a mode of writing. Most remarkable in the author’s invention of multiple techniques, one is at once aware of several stand and levels of narration. More merely, by opening the readers eyes of life, but by, quite literally creating life. Arundhati Roy has carved a space of for herself in the Indo-Anglican fiction. These findings show that Roy is fit to be called as a post-colonial feminist-author, presenting a few issues which are gritting minds of the reformists. 

Works cited

Primary sources

Roy,Arundhati. The God of Small Things.New Delhi: penguin Books, 2002.

Secondary sources

Agarwal KA. Indian English fiction. Jaipur: Book Enclave, zooz.

Ashcroft, Bill Gareth grittiths Helen Tiffin. The Empire writes Back : Theory and practice in post – colonial literature. London: Routledge. 1989.

Derrida,Jacques, The Ear of the other.Trans Alla, Chicago University of Chicago Press,1982.

Hekman, Susan J.Gender and Knowledge Elements of Postmodern Feminism. Cambridge: Polity Pres 1992.

Lakoff, Robin. Language and Women’s Place. New York : Harper & Row, 1975

Sabapathy A

MA English Literature

St. John's College


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