Who is the God of Big Things?

There are a few things to consider when discussing the novel’s title. On one hand, we can concentrate on the main portion of the title and think about the specific individual it may be referring to – the God of Small Things. All things considered, from Ammu’s fantasy, we get the possibility that the God of Small Things speaks to Velutha, the man whom she cherishes, regardless of the way that society will never accept them being together. In her fantasy (which happens in Chapter 11 and happens to be entitled “The God of Small Things”), Ammu dreams of a man with one arm who holds her near him: He could only do one thing at a time. “If he held her, he couldn’t kiss her. If he kissed her, he couldn’t see her. If he saw her, he couldn’t feel her.” (205)

When Ammu wakes from her dream, Rahel and Estha are there with her. Ammu notices a curl of shaved wood in Rahel’s hair and knows that the kids have been to see Velutha. She knows even more, “She knew who he was – the God of Loss, the God of Small Things. Of course she did.” (206) Velutha’s identity as the God of Small Things is fortified toward the end of the book when we find out about Ammu and Velutha’s first romantic encounters. Since they know it’s impossible for their love to exist, they never talk or consider the future, or what one may consider to be the “big things”; they just adhere to the present.

One thought on “Who is the God of Big Things?

  1. Nice analysis of Ch. 11, Mason, although you don’t really answer the question you tease in your title 🙂

    Let me take a crack at it. We, in the United States, on top of the global hierarchy of culture (well, until the last couple of months), worship “The God of Big Things,” because we think our actions can actually transform the world, can actually, in the words of the novel, change “History.” We, unlike the Anglophiles of the Ayemenem family, live inside the History House, and are able to shape and design it as we please.

    Velutha, the Untouchable, is on the very opposite end of the global spectrum — along with, to a slightly lesser extent, Ammu and others in Kerala. They “Stick to Smallness,” as the novel says in the end, because that is the space in which they can find a little agency, a little bit of power to make their own happiness.


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