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.

2 thoughts on “Who is the God of Small Things?

  1. Paige M

    I definitely agree! I was reflecting on the title earlier and was struggling to understand its meaning. I thought that you described it eloquently! I completely agree with your last paragraph about Estha and Rahel being believers of “the God of small things” because they are children and have that child-like innocence and imagination still. Great analysis!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with you and Paige. It’s a well-worn theme throughout the history of storytelling, but we could all gain something by trying to see the world as children. And in the context of the novel, that means appreciating the “beauty and innocence” of the natural world and of pure relationships of mutual recognition (outside the Play of the Love Laws and other societal constructs).

    I think a great example this is the twins’ relationship with Sophie Mol. On one level, Sophie Mol (in the context of the “What would Sophie Mol?” think Play) represents the “big things” — the history of colonialism, the hierarchies of race and class, etc. And initially, when they are waiting to meet her, the twins feel the wait of those things (thanks to Baby Kochamma and others reminding them).

    But then they actually interact with her, they realize she is just a kid like them, who likes to goof off and make fun of adults. Their bond — a “small thing” — exposes the artificiality of all those “big thing” constructs.


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