The Child That Lives Within

From the start of the book, Arundhati Roy’s writing style intrigued me. From the innocence she portrays through Rahel and Esta’s imagination to the dynamics of the familial relationships that she exposes through dialogue and flashbacks, there are so many meanings that are embedded in each line that she writes.

I could talk about the passages that might confuse me but those passages need context that we will get later on in the book. I’d rather discuss the passages where Roy surprised me with the world she builds around the reader. The way she uses certain techniques to portray the meanings of the book are ways I’ve never seen before and ways that certainly deserve a lot of attention and praise.

To be able to capture a child’s innocence and imagination is something that I’ve seen to be very hard for authors to do yet Roy does it so well and in such a unique way. An example that really stood out to me was in chapter 2 on page 45:

“Rahel thought that boot was a lovely word. A much better word, at any rate, than sturdy. Sturdy was a terrible word. Like a dwarf’s name. Sturdy Koshy Oommen—a pleasant, middle-class, God-fearing dwarf with low knees and a side parting.”


When I read this passage I was genuinely shocked at the way she played on the world of creativity and imagination that kids live in. No adult or teenager would think so creatively about a single word yet kids do this with most new words that they learn. The way Roy had Rahel give a full name to this dwarf and even an in depth description on how it looked was refreshing. It was refreshing to dive into a world we all once lived in yet had forgotten about and no longer use. To me when I was a kid just like Rahel and Esta, words were all based on the way they sounded and they resembled magical creatures or places. When we grow up, life becomes more practical and logical. We learn the way things are and should be rather than imagining all the things they could be.

Roy presents the way our imagination and innocence fades away with age through the way it does within Rahel and Esta. Once upon a time, Rahel and Esta thought they were one person. They imagined their cousin doing cartwheels at her funeral and imagined words being mystical creatures. However, they had gone 25 years without seeing each other and aren’t the same wide-eyed kids they once were. It amazes me how Roy captures the purity of Rahel and Esta when they were young and contrasts it with their cold outlook on life 25 years later to represent the loss of innocence in the book.

Comedies Have a Meaning Beyond Just Entertainment

The definition of a comedy has changed drastically since when they were first created to now. Whether your definition of comedy is that the story ends in a marriage, that there is the rise of a central character, or if you think comedies are just categorized by what makes you laugh, each comedy has a deeper meaning beyond what you might think and prove to be meaningful art forms.

For example, the movie The Breakfast Club is categorized as a comedy. In this movie, a group of high schoolers all get detention for their own separate reasons. All being from different cliques, they eventually get along throughout the movie as they smoke weed, share their feelings, and rebel against the principal who is watching them. If you want to know more, here’s the trailer:

Most people assume comedies are meaningless and are strictly for entertainment but many comedies prove otherwise. For the example I gave, The Breakfast Club, there are many comedic things that happen throughout the movie that may seem absurd and just for laughs like when they smoke weed or when they run around the halls trying to get away from the principal. However, there are deeper meanings that develop throughout the movie and through these comedic moments.

There are 5 main characters: the jock, the rebel, the nerd, the outcast, and the popular one. All come from different backgrounds and neither of them really get along at the beginning. However, they show sides of them that prove they aren’t just a label. The rebel can be caring and is only reckless because of his parents, the jock only wrestles to prove himself to his dad, the popular girl feels so much pressure from her friends, the nerd might have his grades together but not his whole life, the outcast steps out of her comfort zone; they all are relatable characters that make the audience feel less alone. Among the funny and ironic dialogue, there are also serious moments like when the nerd talks about suicide, the rebel talks about his abusive dad, and the jock talks about how his dad won’t accept him unless he wrestles. They are all people who struggle and their character development show the audience that once you take down the barriers of labels, it is easy to connect with one another.

Another example of a comedy that might seem just playful and funny is 10 Things I Hate About You. This movie is about a studious teen girl who is closed off when it comes to boys. Her pretty and popular sister isn’t too happy about this however since she won’t be able to date until her sister does. She finds a guy who will be payed to charm her older sister and try to date her so that the younger sister can date too. To see more about this movie, here’s the trailer:

With there being scenes of the older sister being publicly serenaded, her getting drunk and embarrassing herself at a party, and many other funny moments, it can be easy to overlook how this movie is very meaningful as well. This movie explores the ideas of feminism, individuality, and independence. The main character, Kat, is a strong minded and independent person who is the movie’s main source of feminism. Her character and her best friend, Mandella, promote female independence throughout the movie and show their strength as women which made the movie very iconic for its time period.

It is easy to overlook most comedies’ true meaning and the message they promote but I strongly believe that every comedy has one. Comedies, just like every other genre of movie or book, have depth and purpose. They teach us lessons just as much as other genres do, just in a different way.

The Satirical Comedy of “The Truman Show”

The Truman Show is a movie about an average guy whose whole life is recorded and screened as a tv show. Although he doesn’t know it, all of his friends and family are actors and he is part of a huge tv set. Throughout the movie you can see how the director manipulates the factors in his life to evoke a reaction out of Truman so that the audience gets what they want. Truman gradually finds out the truth and makes the decision to leave and start a life of his own – one not recorded nor controlled by a director.

Check out the trailer:

There are plenty of satirical methods used in The Truman Show. One of the biggest ones used is dramatic irony. For example, throughout the whole movie the audience knows that Truman ‘s life is constantly being recorded even though he doesn’t. Truman believes his friends are real and is completely oblivious of the show that he lives in which is ironic since the audience knows the truth.

The Truman Show is also a parody of media and reality tv shows. Truman is an average guy just living a regular life. No one would truly be interested in anyone like Truman so the director spices up his life to make it more entertaining to the audience. It exposes the reality of media and how it controls people’s lives just for the entertainment and enjoyment of others. Media is all controlled by likes and followers and Truman’s life, although not willingly, is controlled by the audience and what they find entertaining. It is so hard to find real people on media because its over a screen and people can act fake just to get more popularity. Truman reflects this idea by leaving the show to find his truth and to finally be in control of his life.

Jim Carrey, who plays Truman, stars in many comedies and usually plays roles that are mostly for entertainment purposes rather than satirical purposes. Although, this movie is very comedic and exposes the media in funny ways, the overall message that it is trying to convey is one that is real and one to learn from. It isn’t just a movie to make people laugh and to entertain but also to convey a message: stay true to yourself and don’t let media, technology, or popularity control who you are and the way you choose to live your life.

Are the Black Screens of Our Phones the Actual Magic Doors?

Mohsin Hamid in his novel Exit West feeds the readers the theme of escape. Whether through technology, drugs, or the mysterious magic doors, the people in the novel are constantly finding an escape of their perilous reality.

Although these mystical doors are unrealistic, they’re fascinating because they do something that seems so intangible; transport us to another part of the world in an instant. However, we have this power in something much smaller than a door; in our phones. Saeed and Nadia both use their phones – Nadia much more attached to hers than Saeed – to escape their reality. Phones are described to transport them to “places distant and near”, similar to the magical doors that end up physically taking them away from their homeland.

These doors aren’t such a foreign concept to us. As interested as I was by them, I came to the realization that something I use all throughout the day, does the same thing. Phones can transport us to places all around the world in more ways than one. We can purchase plane tickets off of them to physically take us to a different place or we can dive into a reality completely different than ours through videos, pictures, social media, etc. Whether they physically transport us or not, phones are an escape and can take us to different parts of the world in an instant; our own magic doors.