Point of View in GOST

When you first begin to read ‎Arundhati Roy’s novel “God of Small Things,” it is hard to tell what is going on. It jumps from one point of view to the next seemingly randomly, and it can be hard to follow. Once you get used to this third-person omniscient style of writing, however, it is clear how much of an impact it has on the story.

Each character has a unique perspective on the events in the story, as each of them experienced things differently. For example, each of them view Sophie Mol’s death in a different way because they all know different versions of the truth. Rahel and Estha were actually present, so they have a much different understanding of what happened than Ammu or Baby Kochamma. The fact that the point of view changes so often before the actual cause of Sophie’s death is revealed builds suspense because it’s clear that none of the characters know the same things. It also helps the reader fully comprehend the true extent of the confusion and complications around the death because we get to see it through multiple characters’ eyes.

The changes in point of view also helps us empathize with each of the characters. Every one of them does something questionable in the story, so if it was told exclusively from one perspective, some of those characters would turn into antagonists. Instead, we get to understand the reasoning behind their actions and why it made sense to them, so no one is truly a “bad guy” or a “good guy.” They all have their flaws, but they all believed they were acting correctly, and we are able to see that because of the multiple points of view.

One thought on “Point of View in GOST

  1. I like the idea of a story without antagonists. I would only qualify that idea with the character of Baby Kochamma — whom the text treats quite cruelly, making her out to be an out and out villain. If there is one flaw in Roy’s story, it might be that — because as you say, the text does such a good job of showing the compromised complexity of the characters.

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