God of Small Things and Trauma

In my opinion, the novel as a whole is striking to read in a long list of ways. While there are many themes that one could make, the trauma that characters are involved in truly act as a basis for how the story plays out. In the book God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy, adults are concerned about the “big things” in life, while the children only experience the “small things” in life. But within all the events that transpire, the small events of cruelty are just as important as the small ones. For example, Estha’s molestation, Rahels questioning her mother’s love, and the incest at the end. The cruel act of Esthas molestation happened quickly and quietly and doesn’t initially take up much time in the book. After The Orangedrink Lemondrink Man molests Estha, the family leaves the theatre. As the thought process begins to transpire the event is ingrained within him, “Back inside the hairoil darkness, Estha held his other hand care-fully (upwards, as though he was holding an imagined orange) (pg. 100). But this small cruelty stays with Estha for a long time. It helps Estha decide to run away from home, which leads to Sophie Mol’s drowning and Velutha’s death.

Additionally, Rahel is another character who’s life was dramatically impacted by a small cruelty. When Rahel spoke carelessly to Ammu, Ammu said it was those comments that made Ammu love Rahel a little less. This little cruelty, an offhand remark, made Rahel continuously question her mother’s love. Rahel came to think that her mother’s love was not unconditional, which led to some major disastrous decisions. Rahel questioning her mother’s love was a factor in the decision to run away with Estha and Sophie Mol. Just like Estha being molested, the victim was dramatically affected while the perpetrator was not affected.

Overall, While these small cruelties don’t seem disastrous, they can pile up and have a big impact on the victims. Estha and Rahel have sex near the end of the book. They have endured lots of small cruelties like Sophie Mol’s funeral, their family shunning them, and Baby Kochama’s jealousy. The mainframes of trauma run deep with characters for lifetimes and utterly show little events will always be relived.

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