Orientalism in The God of Small Things and Heart of Darkness

In a close reading of chapter 2, Pappachi’s Moth, in Arundhati Roy’s novel The God of Small Things, I noticed an allusion Roy included when Chacko was explaining the definition of Anglophile and Estes and Rahel describe a man who lived in a house across the river, Kari Saipu. He known as “An Englishman who had ‘gone native’” (Roy 51). This man is compared to a fictional character named Kurtz, apart of novel by Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness.

When I researched this book as well as the character Kurtz, it was extremely interesting to see that in the novel, Conrad apparently depicts the living styles of Africans as uncivilized, and Kurtz as one who desires to be almost a divine ruler over the native people.

Saipu is also described as a man “who spoke Malayalam and wore mundus. Ayemenem’s own Kurtz. Ayemenem his private Hear of Darkness” (Roy 51). This allusion to orientalism in another piece of literature (Kurtz versus Them) helped me as a reader draw the connection between Conrad’s character Kurtz, Kari Saipu in The God of Small Things and the significance of orientalism all at once.

“Ayemenem’s own Kurtz. Ayemenem his private Hear of Darkness”

(Roy 51)

Orientalism and Kids’ Movies

In today’s society film entertainment is prevalent in many age groups. Speaking from experience, when I was younger, I was obsessed with Disney movies. Now as I am older, the presence of Orientalism in Disney classics is quite surprising. As defined, “the representation of Asia, especially the Middle East, in a stereotyped way that is regarded as embodying a colonialist attitude”. Personally, major companies such as Disney should not be adding stereotypical fiction characters and shaping how children view other races. For example, beloved films such as “Pocahontas”, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, and “Aladdin” all portray Orientalism.

These films have aspects of ideal western beauty, sexualized Romanian “gypsy”, and portrays of the middle east. For children, these aspects of the films probably don’t come to mind. Though they are highly present, they are working and twisting the minds of innocent children. Although movies can be seen as cultural products, there should be an extend in which certain themes are presented.

Overall movies will continue to depict Orientalism, though companies like Disney do not have negative intentions, the way characters are represented can help fix the problem. As people who understand how certain characters are portrayed, do discuss it with someone who doesn’t would also be a great thing to do.


Josh Ritter’s “Homecoming”

When thinking of songs to add to our playlist, I couldn’t leave out Josh Ritter’s “Homecoming,” not only because of it’s novel-like lyrics but also because we are spending a lot of time in our homes and becoming sick of them, (which we may regret when we are gone.)

I think this song can have a different meaning to everyone, because it plays into feelings that everyone is familiar with.  Home can mean many things: the place you grew up, a place you feel most comfortable in, or a person. Regardless, I think the song brings up a good memory for everyone, and gets you excited.

Ritter begins talking about the changing seasons, singing:

The nights are getting colder now

The air is getting crisp

I first tasted the universe on a night like this

The word choice in these lines gives the listener a sense of excitement and anticipation.  The listener can almost taste the cold, crisp air on their tongue, an energizing feeling. Ritter goes on to a more serious line, singing:

In a place where the tree of good and evil still resides

This metaphor reminds the listener of the complexity of returning to memories like this.  Although he acknowledges that memories consistent with home may have layers and could bring up bad ideas, he keeps the tone positive.  It does not take away from his love and excitement of coming home.

He also layers a lot of sounds and phrases throughout the song, including, “My heart will stay,” “Hey now, don’t go away now,” and “Homecoming.”

The repetition of these rhythms and phrases makes the listener lose themselves almost like in a trance, thinking about the memory that comes to mind.  This song captures the wistful nature about thinking back, and also the pleasure of the memory. Ritter tells a story through “Homecoming” that you can picture, because you have probably been there yourself.

Is the Ethnic Food Aisle Convenient or Another Form of Segregation?

In recent years, we’ve seen less and less of the blatantly offensive caricatures of Asians and Asian-Americans in the media. The entertainment industry has recently been staying away from exaggerated stereotypes and has instead been striving to provide more accurate representation for Asians. We can, however, still see orientalism in more subtle indignities, specifically the ethnic food aisle of the supermarket.

Why is it that French and Italian food is never referred to as ethnic, but Indian and Chinese food almost always is? The pasta, sauces, and cheeses typically associated with Italian cusine can usually be found anywhere in the supermarket, so why is it that products like soy sauce and soba noodles are always found in the ethnic aisle?

Does the ethnic aisle really make grocery shopping more convenient or does it segregate select ethnic groups from the rest of the supermarket and reinforce their position as “the other”? It seems as though the foods of different ethnic groups become part of the general supermarket once they are integrated into American cuisine. But is it a good thing to integrate Chinese, Japanese, and Indian food into American cuisine or does it take away the culural significance from the dishes? I genuinely don’t know the answer to that question and would love to hear from other students who indentify with ethnic groups assigned to the ethnic aisle.

Orientalism in “The King and I”

“The King and I”, a classic American movie musical that almost everyone can find themselves singing along to. When thinking about the topic of orientalism the first thing that automatically comes up in my mind is this movie. Even if you were to ignore the white people playing Asian people, it would still be hard to ignore the other insensitive issues that are apparent in this movie. Let’s briefly go over the plot, the story follows a young teacher who is sent to a fictional place in Asia called Siam where she has to teach the King’s wives and all of his kids English. She teaches the English language as well as customs and etiquette to the royal family in order to make them more “Modern”. One of the prime examples of orientalism is the purpose of Ms Loenowens’ trip. Like I said before, she is teaching the Royals of Siam how to be proper so they can look good for the many other Europeans who are visiting to decide if they’ll “accept” the kingdom. It is clear that Ms Loenowens is trying to white-wash their culture, and it is seen as the “right thing” in the movie.

Another big issue with the movie is how the King of Siam is portrayed. The barbaric and poorly mannered king is a horrible representation of Asian culture. Apart from the messed up portrayal of some of these characters, many of the actors playing the people of Siam are white when the characters are Asian. The man who plays the king is a Russian- American actor and the woman who plays Tup-Tim is Puerto Rican. Casting people who don’t have an eastern ethnicity is a very distasteful way to put on a film. Overall, the Westernization of the characters in, “The King and I” is a prime example of why Hollywood needs to understand the history of what they’re portraying. Maybe we can learn from these mistakes and not repeat them. I have already seen significant change since the release of this famous film.

The Role of Gender in “God of Small Things”

In the novel The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy the mastery of women is a typical topic that is showed by every generation in the novel. Roy expounds on the loaded social issues that plague Indian culture; she composed The God of Small Things after the corrupt system had been removed in India, yet it still controls the country. Roys views serve to see the imperfections within Indian culture, and therefore composed a novel with a message that demonstrated the issues that exists and still goes unmentioned. Through the significant subject of gender identity, Roy passes on a message that all individuals ought to be equivalent regardless of the sex of an individual. The idea is that sexual orientation is only a presentation since society has created. The figment is to suppress their internal wants and adjust to society’s optimal picture and portray the issues that make up a lot of restrictions.

Gender is a constrained job for the characters in The God of Small Things, and it exists essentially as a characterizing social develop. The genuine sexual orientation of the characters is created, on the grounds that the characters in the novel would be thrown out of Indian culture on the off chance that they acted in a way other than the one that was anticipated. The women of the novel are compelled to remain consistent within Indian culture, or, the results are unsuitably unforgiving. Gender identity should come from the acts and gestures that a person chooses to perform, not by the sex they were biologically assigned at birth.

The abuse that Mammachi endured by her husband influenced her in a strange way,

At Pappachi’s funeral, Mammachi cried until her contact lenses slid around in her eyes. Ammu told the twins that Mammachi was crying more because she was used to him than because she loved him. (49) 

The static nature of Mammachi’s life is evident, making it clear that she hated the idea of change, regardless of whether that change was the passing of her spouse or something else. Mammachi proceeds as a lady who lost her caring husband at his memorial service essentially in light of the fact that she was used to her job as a compliant lady who brought herself down to acknowledge her significant other’s disparaging nature towards her for the sum of their marriage. Mammachi had the chance to begin a real existence that would not be constrained by her significant other, however she would be unable to genuinely get away from the maltreatment that was perpetrated intellectually on her by Pappachi’s physical beatings and the end he put to her as a musician.

Numerous individuals despite everything stick to customary thoughts that people ought to carry on in manners that fall into explicit classes decided exclusively on their sexual orientation. However, male or female gender-specific identities are irrelevant in modern, civilized society. Gender roles are social builds created after some time and are not founded on normal human conduct. This is on the grounds that gender roles have advanced as an approach to arrange the vital errands done in early human culture. Some may state that because of the way that customary gender roles have been portrayed for such a long time, they ought not be changed, and are currently a key component in human advancement. Nevertheless, in many of the modern societies today, there is no need for traditional gender roles, because both men and women are able to do many of the same necessary tasks, thereby making gender-specific behaviors irrelevant.

Margaret Kochamma’s Display of Orientalism

Throughout “God of Small Things,” the reader is able to see how India is viewed from the Western world from tourists that are encountered throughout the novel, but specifically through the eyes of Margaret Kochamma. One of the first instances of the view of India from a tourists perspective is when the family goes to the airport to pick up Margaret Kochamma and Sophie Mol. Other Western families are also arriving and being greeted by their Indian relatives. Roy describes their encounters, “With love and a lick of shame that their families who had come to meet them were so… gawkish. Look at the way they dressed!” (134). The way the Western relatives disapprove of their Indian family is a display of orientalism. Westerns like to believe that what they do– the way they act, dress, talk– is the only “normal” way. Later in this passage, the Indian families are referred to as dirty. The way that the Westerners are treating the people in India is mainly based of Orientalism, and growing up believing that Indians are not well dressed, shameful, and dirty.

Margaret Kochamma’s role and her Orientalist view adds even more to the novel, and is arguably very important to the novel as a whole. When Margaret Kochamma told her coworkers she was going to India “The Heart of Darkness,” as the book describes it, they tell her that “Anything can happen to anyone” and “It’s best to be prepared” (252). Without saying it, her coworkers are implying what many Westerners think, that India is an unsafe country, especially for white people. Margaret Kochamma has reservations about bringing her daughter there for this exact reason. But, her worst fears are realized and her daughter dies in India. The fact that the whole book basically revolves around this event, one so deeply rooted in orientalism shows how important Orientalism is to this book. What is even more interesting to me is that the outside or Western view of India as unsafe is partially supported, with Sophie Mol dying. But it also refutes Orientalism because her death does not happen in the way most Westerners probably would’ve expected (something like a scary man kidnapping you off the street). Instead it is her own family, two young kids, who accidentally kill her.


I found it interesting to research orientalism because it isn’t the same as how most people define racism. When thinking of racism, most people associate hate with it. But orientalism is sort of the opposite of that. Orientalism is more of badly placed and odd admiration. It depicts Arab and Asian culture as exotic, yet still pegs them as the “other”.

In my various classes, we have had multiple units on racism towards African Americans. It has been covered in history classes, English classes, and even biology classes. But my classes have never talked about racism toward any other group of people. It does make sense to focus on racism towards African Americans because of the terrible history of slavery and Jim Crow laws in the U.S. But I think that we need to expand the conversation about racism toward any group. Racism towards Muslims increased after 9/11, but I have never had any discussions about that. And now with COVID-19, there is an increasing amount of racism towards Asians, yet there haven’t been any discussions about it. I can see how people could dismiss orientalism as being nice or being fond of a different culture. Because people usually associate racism with hate, and orientalism is sort of the opposite, many people might write it off. Despite this, orientalism is still racist, just in a different way.

Before reading GOST and doing my own research about orientalism, I didn’t know much about it. After doing research, I realize that orientalism is more common than I though, but I just didn’t notice it before.

The Motif of Pappachi’s Moth

Pappachi’s moth is introduced at the beginning of the novel. It is the moth that he discovered but he did not get credit for. His moth also marks the beginning of his abusive tendencies towards Mammachi.  The moth represents his anger and the fear in others that accompanies his temper tantrums. It is said that Pappachi’s moth haunts the family,  “tormented him and his children and his children’s children,” (24). But in a broader sense, the moth symbolizes any uncomfortable feelings in uncontrollable situations.

The moth becomes most prevalent for Rahel. In situations where she feels scared and out of control, Arundhati Roy places descriptive imagery to depict the moth landing, tiptoeing, and envolepoing Rahel’s heart. An example of this is when Ammu tells Rahel that when she hurts people, they love them less. Roy describes, ” A cold moth with unusually dense dorsal tufts landed lightly on Rahel’s heart. Where its icy legs touched her, she got goosebumps. Six goosebumps on her careless heart. A little less her Ammu loved her” (104). This is a scary moment for Rahel. Her mother just told her that her careless words made her love Rahel less. Especially for a child, that is very frightening and unexpected. Rahel doesn’t want her mother to love her less, and feels guilty, and so the moth lands on her heart to remind us of Rahel feeling insecure. The moth motif continues throughout the novel, and comes back at one of the most critical points of the novel as well, specifically when Esta and Rahel lose Sophie Mol to the river. Roy depicts, “On Rahel’s heart Pappachi’s moth snapped open its somber wing” (295). Again, Rahel feels unsure, scared, and as though she might have just killed her cousin. This causes the moth to come back. Another interesting thing about this passage is that it suggests that the moth never truly leaves Rahel, it just opens at certain times. This connects to the idea that Pappachi’s moth will truly haunt his descendants forever, never leaving their hearts. Finally, I would like to point out that the moth also seems to become present at times when Rahel is exposed to darker feelings and emotions. Feeling of abandonment and of fear of murder are not typical feelings small children have. The moth is there to guide Rahel into more adult feelings that contrast her normally childlike manner.

The Way Roy’s Writing Hits You

There are a plethora of disturbing books out there in the world, many of which I and our AP Literature class have read; but none hit harder than Arundhati Roy’s novel, “The God of Small Things.” There are two main reasons that her depictions of trauma hit hard: they usually come as a surprise and many moments are seen from the innocent mind of a child.

One of the most infamous and brutal places in the book is when Estha is molested by the Orangedrink Lemondrink Man. The scene starts out innocently, Estha is asked to leave the movie theater because he was being too loud. The refreshments guy in the lobby starts asking him questions in return for a free lemonade, which is disturbing on its own but then comes the real shocker:

“Now if you’ll kindly hold this for me,” the Orangedrink Lemondrink Man said, handing Estha his penis through his soft white muslin dhoti, “I’ll get you your drink. Orange? Lemon?”

Roy 98

There always seemed to be something off about the Orangedrink Lemondrink Man (a great name by the way), and maybe this behavior pattern was to be expected. However, the way Roy fits this horror into a sentence that makes us think one thing (that he was going to hand Estha an ingredient or the drink) and shatters this expectation with just one word is simply cruel.

But Roy does not stop there, towards the end of this scene, Estha’s hand is covered in “White egg white, Quarter-boiled” (Roy 99). Needless to say, that description from the point of view of a confused child scars readers on a whole other level. God of Small Things is a book that does not refrain from giving the full story, no matter how gruesome it might be, and because of that, it is powerful.

Is Crazy Rich Asians Enough?

I have now seen the movie Crazy Rich Asians 3 times. What can I say — it’s a great movie. Awkwafina is hilarious, Constance Wu is brilliant, and Henry Golding is attractive. But something I hadn’t taken into account until recently is that maybe it’s a little too simplistic. I’m not here to bash the movie because at the end of the day, it was a HUGE win for Asian Americans. But it was exactly that: a win for Asian Americans. What never crossed my mind, though, was how it portrayed Singaporeans. Once again, I still believe this was a landmark film in increasing representation in Hollywood. As director Jon Chu said a while back, it’s a movement. While the movie has enjoyed massive success and shed light on a non-white cast, some people still think it could’ve gone even further.

Take this quotation from a profound article on Vox, “While it’s definitely significant that Hollywood is finally producing an all-Asian film, the anticipation for this film demonstrates that representation can mean different things to different groups of people, and that there is a divergence between the needs and priorities of Asian Americans and Asians in Asia.” I couldn’t agree more. Here, as a Singaporean of Chinese descent, author Kirsten Han touches on how she felt the film was flawed in more ways than one. What she wrote next made me come to another realization. In western films, we really only see Asia depicted in 1 of 2 ways: as “rising Asia” with modern architecture, servants, and next-level wealth, or as an extremely impoverished place with a lack of social mobility. When I think about the films I’ve seen with an Asian cast in the past year, it totally fits the description. In one of my personal favorites, Parasite, we see this deeply-entrenched divide between the rich and the poor. In Raise The Red Lantern, we see extreme generational wealth and tradition. While I loved both of these films and I actually think they did a great job with representation, it makes me wonder. Is Orientalism at play here? Is this really an accurate depiction, or are these over simplistic?

In other western movies, what we see of Asian countries is very little. And what we do see motivates these 2 narrow stereotypes. We see overwhelming markets with foods that seem foreign to us, tech-savvy people, expensive homes, and action movie backdrops. We see a place with more than 4.4 billion people through one, white-washed lens. I think it’s interesting because something perceived so incredibly progressive in the U.S was actually perceived as not diverse enough to people from Singapore.


Love: Estha and Rahel

Hey everyone! I thought it would be interesting to write about Estha and Rahel’s relationship throughout the novel.

Both Rahel and Estha are seen to be the main characters of the novel. We mostly seem to see the world through Rahel’s eyes however, therefore we end up understanding her a little clearer than Estha.

From the beginning of the novel, the twins are written to be completely complementary halves of one another. The two even consider themselves to be “one” when they are together, and seem to be lost when they are apart. For example, Roy writes,

Rahel stood in the hotel room doorway, full of sadness… The sadness of Ammu’s loving her a little less. And the sadness of whatever the Orangedrink Lemondrink Man had done to Estha (110).

This quote shows the connection that Rahel and Estha always shared throughout their childhood. Rahel felt the pain that Estha had endured from the Orangedrink Lemondrink Man and is able to connect with him on another level. I think it can be inferred that Estha also feels the same connection to Rahel as she does to him.

When the twins are separated for 23 years, they realize that they are essentially not able to lead lives apart. We learn that the only reason Rahel really came back to Ayemenem, was because of Estha.

Estha and Rahel’s relationship turns out to be a bit unorthodox with the act of incest being presented at the end of the novel. However, I think that this act ties up the essence of the novel perfectly. From the beginning of the novel, the two considered one another as “one”. Their connection was stronger than anything, with the ability to break societies harsh standards against incest. Even when 23 years separated the two, they ended up finding their way back to each other. Overall, it is clear that the two are meant to be together and that they are not whole apart. Their love is obviously pure and real and it was very interesting to see their relationship pan out throughout the book.

Marriage Under the Patriarchy

In Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things, women have difficulty escaping the confines of the patriarchal society in which they live. No matter what caste the women are born into, all of the women in the novel face struggles and suppression. Specifically, one of the biggest struggles women face in the novel is the societal pressure to get married and the issues that come along with these marriages. 

For example, Ammu was at a disadvantage when trying to find a husband: “Since her father did not have enough money to raise a suitable dowry, no proposal’s came Ammu’s way” (38). In the patriarchal society that is India’s caste system, a marriage is arranged by the father of the bride. It is the father’s responsibility to produce a dowry to entice a man to marry his daughter. 

After failing to find a suitor, Ammu married a man against her father’s wishes, and it turned out poorly for Ammu: “She was twenty seven that year and in the pit of her stomach she carried the cold knowledge that, for her, life had been lived. She had had one chance. She made a mistake. She married the wrong man” (38). I think that this reflects the absolute dependence on men that women in the caste system have. Roy’s diction shows no hope for Ammu’s future, and that is solely because she married the wrong man.

Additionally, Rahel also faces the consequences of living in a patriarchal society: “Rahel grew up without a brief. Without anybody to arrange a marriage for her. Without anybody to pay her dowry and therefore without an obligatory husband looming on her horizon” (18). With the way Roy shows marriage as being necessary for a woman in the novel, the societal pressure of marriage looms over Rahel and marriage seems impossible for her at this moment without a father to arrange it. This conveys how women have absolute dependence on their fathers to find them a husband and secure the future that they are expected to have. 

Instead, Rahel decides that she wants to live her own life and break free from these societal expectations: “So as long as she wasn’t noisy about it, she remained free to make her own enquiries: into breasts and how much they hurt. Into false-hair buns and how well they burned. Into life and how it ought to be lived” (18). This quote truly conveys Rahel resisting what is normally expected for a woman and her desire to be in control of her destiny. 

I think that in the novel, marriage overall has a negative impact on the characters and their struggles with the pressures of marriage are very evident. The societal pressures of marriage, such as the absolute dependence on men that the women have to have, the belief that having a successful marriage makes or breaks your future, and society dictating who you can and cannot marry, is absolutely confining and it’s no wonder why marriage is depicted so poorly in the novel.

Who is the God of Small Things?

In a society focused around “big things” such as class conflicts, political affiliations, and marriage, Roy points out the “small things” to the reader. These small things include secrets, promises, and sins. Even though the novel talks a lot about class relations, culture tensions, and child abuse, it revolves around the perspective of the twins. While there are bigger things to be talked about, it is the small things and their God that Roy narrates about. 

This is a passage from the final chapter, where they refer to Ammu & Velutha, “Even later, on the thirteen nights that followed this one, instinctively they stuck to the Small Things. The Big Things ever lurked inside. They knew that there was nowhere for them to go. They had nothing. No future. So they stuck to the small things” (320). Ammu and Velutha accept their own fates because they know that they had nothing and nowhere to go. So much goes against them as they break the “Love Laws” of caste and race (“big things”). Even though they purposely limit their thinking of the “small things” that enable them to enjoy their love, they still recognize the powerful presence of the “small things”; there is always someone watching.

In chapter 11, Ammu dreams of Velutha. From her dream, we get the idea that the God of Small Things represents Velutha. He is a father figure to his children and fills their lives with innocence and joy. I think the God of small things is someone who lives in the beauty and innocence of this world. Velutha appreciates the beauty of love and is both humble and caring towards others. I believe that Estha and Rahel are believers of “the God of small things” because they are still children, and are not tied to the world of “big things” as the adults.

Roy’s Writing Style as a Device

Pappachi’s Moth has to be one of my favorite chapters in this novel. The way Roy has the omniscient narrator speak in the voices of each character is something I’ve never read before.

For example, there is a great sort of childlike wonder is the way Estha and Rahel view the world at this time in the book. One of my favorite sentences in this chapter is found on page 37: “Rahel’s new teeth were waiting inside her gums, like words in a pen”. It’s so like a little kid to make up an analogy to help explain away a concept. And to a kid, it makes sense. Words come from pens, that’s how you see them. They must be stuck inside there if they’re able to come out through the top. You can’t see them, but they’re there. Like new teeth in your mouth.

Or, later in the novel, when the kids decide to read everything backwards. It’s the kind of high effort-low reward activity that I think all of us used to do as kids. Roy has such an attention to detail to how children act in the book. At a deeper level, it’s not just their actions, but she writes the methods behind them. She does this masterfully, sometimes not even explicitly stating what they mean; you only get the full picture if you take a step back while reading.

Take “zebra crossing”. At first glance, you might think it is a crossing for zebras. But Roy doesn’t want you to think like that. You have to be with Rahel and Estha. It’s a crosswalk, striped black and white like a zebra.

Roy utilizes this technique to envelope the reader in the kids’ perspective. I’ve never seen it done before and I can’t stop appreciating it.

Pride and Orientalism

Orientalism is defined as a way of seeing that imagines, emphasizes, exaggerates and distorts differences of Arab peoples and cultures as compared to that of Europe and the U.S. This is a very backwards view as it makes our way of life better. There is no way to judge whose lifestyle is “better.” It is purely subjective. There is no way of determining whose is better and it is selfish to think that there is. We need to broaden our horizons on culture and be willing to accept everybody’s backgrounds and ways of life. This is what makes America great.

Motherly Love in The God of Small Things

As I was reading The God of Small Things today, I found myself connecting similar themes to past books and movies I’ve read and watched. Particularly, I found myself thinking about the theme of “Motherly Love”. I found this to be prominent in some of the first chapters of GOST; in addition to GOST, I recalled a similar theme in Beloved, a book we read earlier this year. From what I can see, there’s this pining that children have for their mother’s love and become paranoid when they feel they are losing it.

Specifically, after the Estha, Rahel and family arrive at the theater to see The Sound of Music, and Estha experiences the traumatizing event regarding the Orangedrink Lemondrink man, he sees Rahel being reprimanded by Ammu after her comment on her marriage.

‘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.’ (107)

Ammu’s comment implies that she loves Rahel “a little less” and it shook Estha to the core. After this, he was even more afraid to tell Ammu about what had happened with the man at the theater which led to him just never mentioning to her. This longing for motherly love is also seen in Rahel after this where she constantly checks if Ammu loves Sophie Mol more than her and Estha and when she feels she needs to be punished for losing some of the love Ammu has to offer her. This seems like an ongoing theme that led to consequences later in the book.

She thought of the phlegm and nearly retched. She hated her mother then. Hated her. (153)

Similarly, you see this in Beloved where a child too focused on obtaining their mother’s love eventually turns against the mother. This ongoing theme throughout GOST says a lot about the household Rahel and Estha grew up in (at least in my opinion). The constant fear of losing their mother’s love led to several holes and traumatizing events throughout their childhood and I think it shows in their adult life. In some sense, the instability of their mother led to them to seek love from each other which turned problematic too.

Overall, the theme of motherly love seems to run deep throughout The God of Small Things. I remember before we started Beloved, there was a google form questionnaire we had to fill out and I think one of the questions was “A mother’s love can possibly lead to a decision to destroy a child.” and we had to give our opinion on it. I think this speaks to both Beloved and The God of Small Things (though I think there were also more factors than just Ammu’s instability that led to how damaged Rahel and Estha were in the future.

Xenophobia and Disease Outbreaks

The United States of America is a country comprised of immigrants. Despite this fact, Americans have a history of discrimating certain ethnic or racial groups. 

Under various presidents, there has been immense discrimination against minorities, such as Mexican and Latino groups. This is especially evident under the Trump administration, where he has often mentioned the idea of “building a wall” between Mexico and America. 

However, the recent coronavirus outbreak seems to have shifted the hatred towards oriental groups. Some folks have blamed China on creating a biological weapon, while others have used newspaper headlines to their advantage to spread hate.

While xenophobia is strongly routed in American history, disease outbreaks especially aid feelings of hatred towards ethnic groups. In fact, the coronavirus is not the only case. In 2014, the Ebola crisis led to racism directed to the those of African American descent. 

As a result, I feel that there is a craving amongst Americans to target and be hateful towards certain groups. They seem to find any reason to discriminate minorities and this needs to change. 

Does Estha develop PTSD as a Result of Molestation?

In the God of Small Things, a strong theme is the concept of love and sexulity. However, the idea of love and sexuality in the novel is not always associated with a positive connotation. This is especially evident as Estha is molested by the Orangedrink-Lemondrink Man.

When I read the novel, I saw the instance of molestation as more than just a negative experience, but instead one that resignated with Estha forever. As a result, I wanted to analyze and see whether Estha developed symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

According to the American Psychiatric Association, PTSD is “a psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, rape or other violent personal assault.” In fact, the main symptoms of PTSD are hyperarousal, intrusion, and constriction. 

These symptoms are evident in terms of Estha’s molestation. Right after the incident, he experiences hyperarousal as he worries of the man finding and harming him again. The symptoms of hyperarousal are evident later in the novel as Estha and Rahel take a boat they find to Velutha’s house to be repaired. As Kuttappen gives the two children hope that the boat will be fixed, Estha’s body was still in a state of alert and was constistently reminded of the traumatic event. 

This post was not simply to diagnose Estha. Instead, it was written to hopefully change peoples’ minds of the severity of molestation. Whether it be a minor incident or one greater such as kidnap and rape, these situations change peoples lives, as is evident in Estha’s situation. 

Nicki Minaj: Superbass or Super-culturally-inapropriate?

Orientalism is the depiction of aspects of Asian cultures through Western imitation or expression. It was derived from a prejudice interpretation of Asian culture, as European people saw their culture as exotic and unusual. Orientalism can be strongly abused and broadcasted on a large scale by people that have heavy influence in society.

Nicki Minaj, an unusual suspect of enacting orientalism (in my opinion), insults the Asian culture in her song, “Your Love”. In the music video for the song, Nicki alters her usual appearance to exhibit Asian influence. She dresses in silk clothing (also wears a Japanese geisha), slants her eyes using makeup, and puts chopsticks in her hair in addition to several other Asian “imitations”. Her attempt at embodying the Asian culture is extremely limited and false, and she takes away from the true diversity and complexity of this culture.

One of the lines of her song states, “Anyway I think I met him in the sky / When I was a geisha he was a samurai / Somehow I understood him when he spoke Thai / Never spoke lies and he never broke fly”. My interpreation of these lyrics are that the relationship between a geisha and a samurai is glamorized and falsified. She is using the idea of an “exotic” relationship to add to her song, and through that idealizing the concept of having a “foreign lover”. She also states that the Samurai spoke Thai, yet Samurai’s are a part of the Japanese culture.

In my eyes, she is mushing multiple Asian cultures together throughout the song, failing to give recognition to the beauty of each individual culture.