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The God of Small Things Book Review Assignment (Book Review Sample)


This is a book review which analyzes the themes used in the story "The god of small things"

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This paper is based on the novel "The God of Small Things" which was written by Arundhati Roy. The paper focuses on the theme of Family and Social Obligations which is well distributed throughout the story. There are some negative characters in the novel including Baby Konchama who betrays her family due to her concerns about society’s approval. The only characters who value family obligations over social obligations are the fraternal twins Estha and Rahel. The twins prove time and again that they value family over the society especially after they ask Baby Konchama to plead with officer Uncle to ensure that their mother, Ammu, does not end up in prison. They are also deeply attached to each other despite the fact that they spend most of their life separately. Ammu, on the other hand, is represented a complex character who lies in the balance between family and social obligations. At some instances she seems to be very close to her children but in other instances, she badly hurts their feeling through her words and deeds. This is the main reason behind her complicated relationship with the twins. This paper aims towards proving that the choice between family and social obligation is the main cause of conflict in the novel.
The God of Small things was the premiere novel of Arundhati Roy, an Indian Writer with its main plot being about fraternal twins and their childhood experiences. The lives of these fraternal twins are ruined by “Love Laws” that determine who should be loved, how, and how much they should be loved. The book mainly explores the small things affecting people’s behavior and also their lives. The story revolves around a wealthy, Christian Ipe family living in Kerala, India, with the main focus being their seven-year-old fraternal twins Estha and Rahel. The story reveals the complicated relationships amongst the Ipe family with each family member having different issues depending on their familial duty, relationships, social obligation and personal dislike. Baby Konchama is the most negative character in the story, and with her personal grudges and worries about society's approval, she betrays her family. There is also another character Vellya Paapen who is not a member of the Ipe family, but he too also chooses society's approval over family obligation by offering to kill his son, Velutha, for having slept with Ammu. Evidently, there is a lot of tension in the story, and this paper focuses on family and social obligations depicting them to be the main cause of conflict in the novel.
Family and Social Obligation
In the story, the most important relationship is that between Estha and Rahel who are fraternal twins and also their mother, Ammu. The twins, though not identical see themselves as one person with their strong bond sheltering them from the harsh social and political forces in the world. They, however, have a complicated relationship with their mother since at times she is a very loving mother while at other times she is an unpredictable woman who sometimes does and says things that are deeply hurting to her children. With Ammu raising twins in a divorced state, the society views her as a disgrace based on Indian beliefs. Ammu’s mother Mammachi also struggles with personal and social issues with her children as disowns Ammu when she sleeps with Velutha, but on the other hand, she loves and forgives Chacko's affairs.
Instances Where Family and Social Obligation Theme is Portrayed
There are several instances the theme of family and social obligations is manifested in the novel The God of Small Things some of which will be quoted and discussed henceforth. Evidently, the first chapter demonstrates this theme in regards to Roy's statement "It is curious how sometimes the memory of death lives on for so much longer than the memory of the life that it purloined. Over the years, as the memory of Sophie Mol… slowly faded, the Loss of Sophie Mol grew robust and alive. It was always there. Like a fruit in season. Every season” (9). Here the author depicts great family love towards Sophie after her unfortunate death, with her memories becoming more alive as time passes by. The conflicting idea is that she died while trying to help the twins escape from the judgmental society after Ammu’s relationship with Velutha.
According to Roy (21) “What was it that gave Ammu this Unsafe Edge? ... It was what she had battling inside her… The infinite tenderness of motherhood and the reckless rage of a suicide bomber. It was this that grew inside her, and eventually led her to love by night the man her children loved by day. ” This quote addresses Ammu’s Love to Velutha which was very complicated since during the day she pretended not to have feelings for him yet at night she engaged in love affairs with him. Velutha was always around Ammu's family, and the twins loved him very much, but they didn't expect their mother to be in a relationship with him. This quote shines some light on the complex life of Ammu which is the reason behind her complicated relationship with the twins.
In the fourth chapter, Roy states “D’you know what happens when you hurt people?” Ammu said. “When you hurt people, they begin to love you less. That’s what careless words do. They make people love you a little less” (54). This statement was issued after a conversation between Rahel and her mother, Ammu. Apparently, Rahel had told her mother to marry the sweet orangedrink lemondrink chap after Ammu admired and appreciated his kindness. These words seemed to hurt Ammu to the extent of admitting that her love for Rahel had dropped significantly. This is not the way she should have treated her daughter since family love should be unconditional but the society had taught her to put her needs and ego before those of her family.
Markedly, chapter thirteen of Roy'...
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