“Small Things”

When initially reading The God of Small Things, I remember thinking how many heavy topics seemed to be brought up in the first chapters of the book.  This society was concerned with “Big Things” such as marriage, the caste system, and politics. However as I continued to read, Roy points out the “Small Things” that give the book its meaning.

One of the first examples that stood out to me is when Ammu tells Rahel that she doesn’t love her as much as she used to.  Although Ammu doesn’t seem to think about this situation again, Rahel is inconsolable. “A little less her mother loved her” is a phrase that is repeated many more times throughout the book.  This statement is a “Small Thing” to Ammu, but it consumes Rahel.

At many points in the book, Roy takes a lot of time to acknowledge something that seems insignificant.  She says, “Just outside Ayemenem they drove into a cabbage-green butterfly (or perhaps it drove into them.)”  Roy uses this description of a “Small Thing” to show that the perspective of the reader is not the only one. Even an insect could have a point of view, and even a suicidal intention.

Because of their youth, Estha and Rahel seem not as tied to the “Big Things.”  But this may mean that they carry the weight of the small things, or the secrets and lies of their family.

One thought on ““Small Things”

  1. I like the idea that the Small Things including the childhood perspectives of Estha and Rahel — the sense of wonder, curiosity — and the way they are outside of the Play, which is really a Big Thing power game of oppressive racial and class/caste-based constructions. I do think the novel, in valorizing Velutha as the God of Small Things, is talking about the personal power and agency everyone has, not matter how little influence they might have on the larger Historical forces shaping the world.

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