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. 

3 thoughts on “Does Estha develop PTSD as a Result of Molestation?


    I never really thought about the true psychological impact this would have, and I think your post makes complete sense and recognizes the true effect that trauma like that can have on an individual. PTSD is something that can stick with him through his whole life.


  2. My mom is a psychotherapist, and the focus of her therapy is to explore the state of people’s mental health as a result of trauma whether big or small. I think you bring up some huge related points here, and it is totally understandable that Estha would develop PTSD as a result of being molested. It is thus clear that his actions are a result of this trauma.


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