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.