Review The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

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Set mainly in Kerala, India, in the 1960s, The God of Small Things is about two children, the two-egg twins Estha (brother) and Rahel (sister), and the shocking consequences of the death-by-drowning of Sophie Mol, their English cousin. –°haracters include their lonely, lovely mother, Ammu (who has left her violent husband), their blind grandmother, Mammachi (who plays Handel on her violin), their beloved uncle Chacko (Rhodes scholar, pickle baron, radical Marxist), their enemy, Baby Kochamma (ex-nun and incumbent grandaunt), and the volatile laborite Untouchable Velutha (it is he who is called the God of Small Things).Chacko’s ex-wife, an Englishwoman, has returned to Kirala after a long absence, bringing along her and Chacko’s lovely young daughter, Sophie Mol. As it turns out, their arrival not only unsettles the already tenuous balance of the divisive household, it also coincides with political unrest.Roy captures the children’s candid observations but clouded understanding of adults’ complex emotional lives. Rahel notices that at times like these, only the Small Things are ever said. The Big Things lurk unsaid inside (Roy 134). It’s easier to talk about small things because the big things in life are far too complex and painful.Roy’s most original contribution in this novel is her portrayal of children, entering into their thinking in a way which does not sentimentalize them but reveals the fierce passions and terrors which course through them and almost destroy them. The reader finds himself reading a childlike account of the events that come to pass through the course of the novels. The childlike quality of Roy’s narration sophisticatedly creates a lightheartedness that starkly contrasts against the heavy tone and serious nature of the material, thus representing the gap between innocence and corruption.
The author uses such stylistic tricks as capitalizing Significant Words and runningtogether other words. When her mother tells Rahel to Stoppit, Rahel stoppited. At Sophie’s funeral, a bat alights on a mourner: the singing stopped for a ‘Whatisit’ ‘Whathappened’ and for a Furrywhirring and a Sariflapping.
The author also uses odd syntactical and verbal combinations and coinages (a bad dream experience during midday nap-time is an aftermare), striking metaphors (Velutha is seen standing in the shade of the rubber trees with coins of sunshine dancing on his body) and sensuous descriptive passages (The sky was orange, and the coconut trees were sea anemones waving their tentacles, hoping to trap and eat an unsuspecting cloud).
Roy incorporates phonetic spelling into the narration to give it a childlike quality. Phrases such as Their Prer NUN sea ayshun was perfect and cheerful chop-chop-chopping show once again the reader that the narrator is a child (Roy 147, 121).
The form in which the word is presented to the reader reinforces the content. In cheerful chop-chop-chopping, the lengthening of the word chopping into chop-chop-chopping creates a sing-song quality that portrays the act of chopping as being cheerful, thus reiterating the adjective that precedes it. in other words, the style reinforces the content.
Roy also uses rather unusual epithets as well. When the narrator describes a tune that Mammachi plays on her violin, she describes it as A cloying, chocolate melody. Stickysweet, and meltybrown. Chocolate waves on a chocolate shore (Roy 174). This metaphor may seem like nonsense at first, but it is not nonsensical, for both are rich. one is rich in taste while the other is rich in sound.