Satirical or Racist – Team America: World Police

Orientalism can be seen throughout Cinema. One genre that this is especially prevalent is comedies. Writers try to get cheap laughs out of racist stereotypes. A lot of the time the jokes are mostly tongue and cheek, almost satirical in nature. The writers seem to be aware of the controversy of the content, so they try to overdue it in attempt to justify the ignorance. One extremely harsh example of this in Team America: World Police.

In the movie a fictional military team called “Team America: World Police” is tasked with stopping terrorist threats on the United States. The movie portrays the Middle Eastern terrorists and North Koreans as inhuman are cartoon-ish. They make fun of their language and imitate it crudely.

Sure, it could be argued that the movie does the same to the Americans. World Police points out the hubris of the United States and how self righteous America is. However, this satire doesn’t really do its job. It is not really satire at all. Showing foreign people we are currently at war as strange and ridiculous does not help. Movies like this only further enable racist mindsets and ignorant adolescents who are usually the ones watching this type of movie.

This type of nonsensical and proactive comedy does not engage the viewer in a conversation about race. It points fun and asks them to laugh along. It validates, and even furthers, a xenophobic mindset. One that further divides the conflicts we face today.

Orientalism and the Kpop/Kdrama Fandom

So I’ve been thinking about Orientalism a lot lately trying to come up with a good idea for this blog post. Then a few nights ago as I was watching a Kdrama it hit me, the Kpop and Kdrama fandom. In few places will you find as much unabashed Orientalism as you will in those fandoms. As someone who loves Kdramas I am all too familiar with it.

Now, before I write anything else I would like to say that I am not bashing on everyone who likes Kpop or Kdramas. The orientalist mindset that I take issue with is not shared by all fans of Kpop or Kdramas, however, it is an issue within these fandoms.

It all comes down to the fact that they seem to see Koreans as completely homogeneous. Logically, one can assume that Koreans are individuals and as individuals are not all going to act like characters in a tv show or a celebrity who has been coached in how to respond to an interview Koreans will not all act that way. Well, according to some Kpop/Kdrama fans you would be wrong.

The problem with seeing an ethnic group that way is that it dehumanizes the members of that group. When you treat people as though they are nothing more than their culture, when you forget the variability of individuals, and when you objectify them, you are not fully recognizing them. That is what I think the core of Orientalism is, the refusal to look at another group with nuance, to other them. Whether the resulting distortion idealizes or demonizes them it is still wrong because it works against mutual recognition.

Isle of Dogs: Orientalism in Film

Isle of Dogs' might be Wes Anderson's most dramatic film yet ...

In 2018, Wes Anderson, stop motion savant, directed the film Isle of Dogs. The film takes place in a future dystopian Japan. Due to an outbreak of “snout fever,” all of the dogs of Japan have been sent to a desolate island that is home to Wall-e like trash cubes, and toxic waste. The movie received rave reviews about its aesthetic look and witty humor. Though at the same time, the film has been criticized as being both racially insensitive and a westerner’s take on Japanese culture. 

Orientalism takes on multiple forms in this movie. The first example can be seen through the voice acting. Though the film includes some phenomenal voice actors (Edward Norton, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, and Scarlett Johansson) sadly none of these actors speak a lick of Japanese. In the opening sequence, captions reveal that there will be no subtitles present in the film. This works for the majority of the movie, but there are lines of Japanese dialogue that are included and left untranslated. Though maybe unintentional, this leaves certain characters disenfranchised and often misunderstood. 

The film continues to display problematic elements with its main heroine. Tracy Walker is an American exchange student who has vowed to bring justice for the abandon pups. Tracy’s character is essentially the typical “white American savior”. The rest of the Japanese characters are overshadowed by her involvement. These characters are then seen as compliant in the regime, and once again, Western views of how society should function are pushed towards the forefront. 

The racial insensitivity of this film takes on a different look through the leading dog, Chief. When the audience first meets Chief, the dog has a jet black coat and a “gruff” persona. As the movie continues, he becomes softer and more compliant with his human overseers. One of the ways Anderson shows this transformation is by Chief undergoing an extensive bathing process. The audience is surprised to find that in actuality, the color of Chief’s hair is white. The symbolism from this scene is extremely problematic. Essentially Anderson associates aggression and “feral” behavior with darker tones. The white fur (which could be compared to the skin) is then perceived to be friendly and tame.  

Director Wes Anderson's latest work "Inugashima" trailer release ...
Isle of Dogs' is pronounced 'I love dogs' and people are freaking ...

Anderson is keen to utilize Japanese and Asian aesthetics, but he fails to capture the richness of the actual culture itself. Naming a scientist Yoko-Ono and including sumo wrestling is one thing, but actually providing greater substance and detail to aspects of the culture is another. Anderson seems to provide an image of the Western perspective of Asian culture, but fails to provide a holistic view of how the culture actually functions. 

Kill Bill: Quentin Tarantino’s Orientalist Classic

Beatrix Kiddo battles O-Ren Ishii’s Crazy 88 in Kill Bill Vol. 1.

Quentin Tarantino’s two part classic Kill Bill will go down as one of the greatest action films of the past 20 years and one of the critically-acclaimed director’s greatest films in terms of visual and auditory effects.

However, Kill Bill is one of the best examples of orientalism, which defines western society’s historically patronizing representation of “The East”: Asia, North Africa, and the Middle East.

The first volume of Kill Bill shows the film’s protagonist, Beatrix Kiddo, travel to Japan, where she immediately goes to purchase a samurai sword from “former Kung-Fu star” Hatori Hanso. After a scene which shows Kiddo fetishize over a wall lined with beautiful samurai swords, she purchases a sword and then she is on her way to kill Bill and the others who stand in her path, the first being Japanese native O-Ren Ishii.

Kiddo then finds O-Ren and battles all 88 of her henchmen, killing each one, and then eventually killing O-Ren and her two “bodyguards.”

By the end of Kill Bill Vol. 1, over 90 people had been killed by Kiddo, a white woman; because what else is there to do in Japan other then killing people with a samurai sword?

Not once throughout the movie are we, the audience, introduced to a Japanese native not associated with death or violence. This connotes that Japanese people are violent and have no true meaning to life other than killing others to stay alive.

Music Poetry: Neil Young’s Don’t Let it Bring You Down

I’ve been trying hard to find song which resonates what we’re all experiencing with this pandemic and I felt that Neil Young’s “Don’t Let it Bring You Down” off of his After The Gold Rush album fits my current mindset perfectly.

The title of the album itself is one which portrays my generation’s feelings toward the pandemic. Without any real wars or other mass pandemics like this one, my generation has gotten pretty easy up until this point. However, we, for the most part, have been so safe and healthy that we hadn’t even realized how good we’ve had it.

For the rest of our lives we will be living in the time after the gold rush. Coronavirus should be a huge wake up call to anyone, myself included, who has lived without any real worries and expected life to be handed to them.

In “Don’t Let it Bring You Down,” Young speaks of staying positive through hardship, which is exactly what we all most do, among other things, to get through this pandemic quickly and safely.

Old man lying
By the side of the road
With the lorries rolling by
Blue moon sinking
From the weight of the load
And the buildings scrape the sky

Cold wind ripping
Down the alley at dawn
And the morning paper flies
Dead man lying
By the side of the road
With the daylight in his eyes

Don’t let it bring you down
It’s only castles burning
Find someone who’s turning
And you will come around

We’re all old men on the side of the road and it seems as if the world is sinking from the weight of our worries. However, this is only castles burning and it will pass. So find someone with a positive mindset and follow them and eventually we will get through this and be happy.

The Rise of Asian Culture in American Movies and My Experience

In the last twenty years, movies with more Asian actors or movies about Asian culture have been watched by millions. The movie industry has come a long way by making movies about cultures allowing it to be more diverse. This is a great milestone to American movie production and to award shows. Quite a few Asian actors and filmmakers have been nominated or have won academy awards.

From my point of view, from being born in 2002 and I’m now 17 in the year 2020, the biggest movie seemed to be Crazy Rich Asians: A romantic comedy including Asian culture in America and in Singapore.

For me, and lots of American teenagers, this was our first glimpse at Asian-American culture in film. The colorful, family driven, extravagant culture left me in awe. Sure the film was maybe more Hollywood than I know, or maybe it wasn’t, but either way, I got a great idea of what some Asian cultures are like by watching it.

I hope more Asian culture appears in my life and maybe one day I’ll get to travel to see it for myself. Immersing audiences into new cultures is a great way for people to accept and learn.

Music Poetry – “Dreams” by The Cranberries

Listening to this song the other day, I couldn’t help but think about how it relates to our current situation. Although the song is actually about falling in love with a person that changes the direction of your life, I think the connection to today is that life can always change unexpectedly.

Oh, my life

Is changing every day

In every possible way

In an erie tune, the song begins by reminding us of the randomness of our day to day, that anything can happen. Covid19 has taken over our lives in a lot of ways over such a short period of time. I would never imagine that I would spend my last semester of high school at home, staying 6-10 feet from my friends, and with a real unknown hanging over my head: How long will this last? And although it is pretty depressing, it also is an opportunity to do things I never could have done without all of this time. From helping my parents with yard work, cleaning out my closet, embroidering the crap out of my clothes, and reading books regularly for the first time since elementary school. The virus is a truly horrible thing, but there still can be a silver lining.

And oh, my dreams

It’s never quite as it seems

Never quite as it seems

The artist goes on to sing about a change in expectations. Her dreams have changed in a way unimaginable because of a person who has entered her life. She never thought she would dream how she is now. I also think about this in a way that many of my hopes for this year seem small compared to the things I hope for now. I’m no longer preoccupied by prom plans or sport seasons, but I hope that my family stays healthy and that researchers will be able to find solutions in the pandemic.

The rest of the song explains that as her life changes with this person (or new situation) her new dreams become stronger and more and more tangible. Every day, we are closer to the end of this quarantine, even though it seems so far away.

Ending on the same two verses (except for a small change), the song leaves the listener with a strange feeling. As much as everything has changed, it will still change again.

Orientalism in Our Lives …

When I was first reading about orientalism I had never heard about it specifically. I knew about the idea but I was still very confused about why and how it comes across. It is in a way stereotypes mixed with racism mixed with a Eurocentric attitude.

When I was thinking back to my own life and how it influenced me at young age. Orientalism has been present in the media that surrounds me since a young age. Even Disney movies pushing this view. When you see costumes or superheros who are written by Westerners especially recently with the push for more diversity. They attempt to be inclusive and sometimes succeed, but still end up falling short. Even halloween costumes that portray a belly dancer or a general asian costume with no attention to the difference in cultures.

Orientalism is all around us and affect us all even on a daily basis, and the media is a large part of that. When everything was happening with ISIS or the affect effect of 9/11. The media was inadvertently (or on purpose) trying to make Americans believe that everyone that came from that region was bad. Even with the coronavirus we have a president crossing out corona and calling it the chinese virus. Which messes with people’s heads to make them think anyone of Asian origin has it.

Orientalism runs deep in our society and everyone has either seen it in action or been subjected to it. While I was learning about it the implications and the history it has is enormous and crazy how much of an impact it has had on our society.

Transcending Trauma

I found that the structure of The God of Small Things was somewhat similar to the structure of Beloved and was therefore successful in conveying a similar message. Both novels arbitrarily shift from past to present, similar to how past trauma from Ayemenem and repressed memories from Sweet Home emerge throughout the novels. Although trauma lingers in both novels, the characters are able to find ways of battling through and lessening the pain of their trauma. Sethe’s relationship with Paul D allows her to persevere through her trauma by keeping it in her memories but detatching herself from the painful aspects. 

Similar to Sethe and Paul D, Estha and Rahel are drawn to each other not only because they are twins but because of their shared trauma. Before Rahel and Estha reconnect, she marries Larry McCaslin, an American, but gets divorced because her “Emptiness” overwhelms her. In describing Rahel’s marriage, Roy writes:

He didn’t know that in some places, like the country that Rahel came from, various kinds of despair competed for primacy. And that personal despair could never be desperate enough. That something happened when personal turmoil dropped by at the wayside shrine of the vast, violent, circling, driving, ridiculous, insane, unfeasible, public turmoil of a nation. That Big God howled like a hot wind, and demanded obeisance. Then Small God (cozy and contained, private and limited) came away cauterized, laughing numbly at his own temerity

Estha is the one for Rahel because unlike Larry, he lived through the same traumatic experiences as Rahel and is able to understand her in a way that Larry cannot. Both novels communicate the idea that victims of shared trauma can transcend their experiences by using relationships with other victims to create a community of healers.

Repetition in “The God of Small Things”

Over the course of reading The God of Small Things (italics were not available in the title, sorry), I noticed that certain phrases kept recurring over and over again, word for word. Some examples of this trend: “Thirty-one. Not old. Not young. But a viable die-able age,” “the laws that lay down who should be loved and how. And how much,” “The God of Loss. The God of Small Things,” “Anything can Happen to Anyone.” These are only a few, but you get the picture.

I was curious why these peculiar phrases kept recurring in this manner. It’s almost like the book’s thoughts are being regurgitated back at the reader, instantly recognizable and in reference to the same phrase countless other places in the book. I don’t have a lot of hard evidence for my theory, but I think that’s it — the repeated phrases serve as anchors, or way-points. They are there to guide the reader back to other places in the novel, to remind them of other specific passages and moments.

However, the phrases aren’t alluding to other events in the book so much as they are alluding to the same events, simply retold from a different frame of reference or perspective, which ties into the unique storytelling method Roy sets up in the novel. The God of Small Things has an extremely non-linear approach to its plot; the first chapter is the end of the plot, while the last chapter takes place somewhere nebulously in the middle. The plot jumps around between events future and past, sharing different characters’ roles in the tragedy that unfolded.

The repeated phrases in The God of Small Things give the plot connection and cohesion. They link disparate elements page-count-wise, such as the first chapter and the time we learn about Ammu and Velutha’s relationship proper, or the trauma Estha faces when he is sexually assaulted and the resulting fear that leads him to try to run away with Rahel and Sophie Mol later. These phrases provide order to a fractured story. They create a through-line where none otherwise exists. The God of Small Things is not a normal story. It’s a traumatic set of memories, linked only by the themes and words dispersed among them.

Lovehappy

My chosen song is “LOVEHAPPY” by THE CARTERS (Beyoncé and Jay-Z) on their joint album EVERYTHING IS LOVE. The central theme of this song is forgiveness as well as working to improve on your happiness. Although in the song it is applied to Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s personal relationship, I believe this song can easily be applicable to our relationships with others or even ourselves.

One major part of the song consists of Beyoncé emphasizing how in a time of darkness, it did not seem like they would be able to escape. ‘Beach’ is used as a metaphor for their relationship, which for some time wasn’t the paradis everyone believe it was. Despite this, eventually, their ‘nightmare’ was over and they were led into a new kind of happiness, enhancing the general theme of the song. These lines are clear towards the end of the chorus.

Sometimes, I thought we’d never see the light

We went through hell with heaven on our side

This beach ain’t always been no paradise

But nightmares only last one night

This one section of the song I found can be very uplifting in times of struggle. Right now with everything with Coronavirus occurring and all of us missing out on the senior year we had imagined for ourselves, this song is simply a reminder that yes, things may be hard for some time but there is light in the future that will always come.

The song ends on a bright note, talking about how they eventually conquered their struggles and now they are happy and in love together. The repetition of ‘we’ puts emphasis as well as an image in your head about how they are a team and better together than they ever were before.

We came, and we saw, and we conquered it all

We came, and we conquered, now we’re happy in love

Stories

Since the beginning of the year, we have been talking about stories and how they relate to us, each other, and the world. There is one quote from The God of Small Things that I think ties the book into the whole year. “…because kathakali discovered long ago that the secret of the Great Stories is that they have no secrets. The Great Stories are the ones you have heard and want to hear again. The ones you can enter anywhere and inhabit comfortably” (218).

I think that the part of the quote that talks about wanting to hear the same story again speaks to this book. Although the book has very dark parts and isn’t the happiest book, it is still very well written and many people, including myself, would want to read it again.

Furthermore, I think the part that says, “The ones you can enter anywhere and inhabit comfortably” is very important and truly does speak to all good stories. I interperate this as no matter whats going on in the world around you, if you pick up a good book you can get lost in the story and forget about reality for a bit. The book sort of takes you under it’s wing and takes care of you while you escape reality. I think that this can also apply to movies or tv shows, becuase they too are stories.

With everything going on in the world right now, I have found myself choosing my favorite stories and inhabiting them quite comfortably. Although it is important to stay aware of whats happening, I think it is equally important to lose yourself in a great story.

Hilarious Orientalism in Rotana Movies

Is 'Hamza's Suitcase' available to watch on Canadian Netflix ...

The Rotana Group is the Arab world’s largest entertainment company, and recently it released many of its goofiest movies into the international section of Netflix, making a presence in the Western world. The movies are unfortunately almost all in Arabic, which creates some issues for an American audience but as a Syrian-American, I can say that these movies have Orientalism at their very core.

Many aspects of Middle-Eastern culture and Arabic stereotypes are taken and exaggerated and distorted greatly. From views on women and homosexuality to camels to hookahs to terrorism to Arabian trap music; these movies paint a picture of the Arabic world that could not be farther from reality. The movies are a lot of fun to watch but the humor used is extremely shallow and can offer no new insight about the world (other than misleading Westerners that their stereotypes and presets about the Eastern world are true).

Orientalism in The God of Small Things and Heart of Darkness

In a close reading of chapter 2, Pappachi’s Moth, in Arundhati Roy’s novel The God of Small Things, I noticed an allusion Roy included when Chacko was explaining the definition of Anglophile and Estes and Rahel describe a man who lived in a house across the river, Kari Saipu. He known as “An Englishman who had ‘gone native’” (Roy 51). This man is compared to a fictional character named Kurtz, apart of novel by Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness.

When I researched this book as well as the character Kurtz, it was extremely interesting to see that in the novel, Conrad apparently depicts the living styles of Africans as uncivilized, and Kurtz as one who desires to be almost a divine ruler over the native people.

Saipu is also described as a man “who spoke Malayalam and wore mundus. Ayemenem’s own Kurtz. Ayemenem his private Hear of Darkness” (Roy 51). This allusion to orientalism in another piece of literature (Kurtz versus Them) helped me as a reader draw the connection between Conrad’s character Kurtz, Kari Saipu in The God of Small Things and the significance of orientalism all at once.

“Ayemenem’s own Kurtz. Ayemenem his private Hear of Darkness”

(Roy 51)

Orientalism and Kids’ Movies

In today’s society film entertainment is prevalent in many age groups. Speaking from experience, when I was younger, I was obsessed with Disney movies. Now as I am older, the presence of Orientalism in Disney classics is quite surprising. As defined, “the representation of Asia, especially the Middle East, in a stereotyped way that is regarded as embodying a colonialist attitude”. Personally, major companies such as Disney should not be adding stereotypical fiction characters and shaping how children view other races. For example, beloved films such as “Pocahontas”, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, and “Aladdin” all portray Orientalism.

These films have aspects of ideal western beauty, sexualized Romanian “gypsy”, and portrays of the middle east. For children, these aspects of the films probably don’t come to mind. Though they are highly present, they are working and twisting the minds of innocent children. Although movies can be seen as cultural products, there should be an extend in which certain themes are presented.

Overall movies will continue to depict Orientalism, though companies like Disney do not have negative intentions, the way characters are represented can help fix the problem. As people who understand how certain characters are portrayed, do discuss it with someone who doesn’t would also be a great thing to do.

 

Josh Ritter’s “Homecoming”

When thinking of songs to add to our playlist, I couldn’t leave out Josh Ritter’s “Homecoming,” not only because of it’s novel-like lyrics but also because we are spending a lot of time in our homes and becoming sick of them, (which we may regret when we are gone.)

I think this song can have a different meaning to everyone, because it plays into feelings that everyone is familiar with.  Home can mean many things: the place you grew up, a place you feel most comfortable in, or a person. Regardless, I think the song brings up a good memory for everyone, and gets you excited.

Ritter begins talking about the changing seasons, singing:

The nights are getting colder now

The air is getting crisp

I first tasted the universe on a night like this

The word choice in these lines gives the listener a sense of excitement and anticipation.  The listener can almost taste the cold, crisp air on their tongue, an energizing feeling. Ritter goes on to a more serious line, singing:

In a place where the tree of good and evil still resides

This metaphor reminds the listener of the complexity of returning to memories like this.  Although he acknowledges that memories consistent with home may have layers and could bring up bad ideas, he keeps the tone positive.  It does not take away from his love and excitement of coming home.

He also layers a lot of sounds and phrases throughout the song, including, “My heart will stay,” “Hey now, don’t go away now,” and “Homecoming.”

The repetition of these rhythms and phrases makes the listener lose themselves almost like in a trance, thinking about the memory that comes to mind.  This song captures the wistful nature about thinking back, and also the pleasure of the memory. Ritter tells a story through “Homecoming” that you can picture, because you have probably been there yourself.

Is the Ethnic Food Aisle Convenient or Another Form of Segregation?

In recent years, we’ve seen less and less of the blatantly offensive caricatures of Asians and Asian-Americans in the media. The entertainment industry has recently been staying away from exaggerated stereotypes and has instead been striving to provide more accurate representation for Asians. We can, however, still see orientalism in more subtle indignities, specifically the ethnic food aisle of the supermarket.

Why is it that French and Italian food is never referred to as ethnic, but Indian and Chinese food almost always is? The pasta, sauces, and cheeses typically associated with Italian cusine can usually be found anywhere in the supermarket, so why is it that products like soy sauce and soba noodles are always found in the ethnic aisle?

Does the ethnic aisle really make grocery shopping more convenient or does it segregate select ethnic groups from the rest of the supermarket and reinforce their position as “the other”? It seems as though the foods of different ethnic groups become part of the general supermarket once they are integrated into American cuisine. But is it a good thing to integrate Chinese, Japanese, and Indian food into American cuisine or does it take away the culural significance from the dishes? I genuinely don’t know the answer to that question and would love to hear from other students who indentify with ethnic groups assigned to the ethnic aisle.

Orientalism in “The King and I”

“The King and I”, a classic American movie musical that almost everyone can find themselves singing along to. When thinking about the topic of orientalism the first thing that automatically comes up in my mind is this movie. Even if you were to ignore the white people playing Asian people, it would still be hard to ignore the other insensitive issues that are apparent in this movie. Let’s briefly go over the plot, the story follows a young teacher who is sent to a fictional place in Asia called Siam where she has to teach the King’s wives and all of his kids English. She teaches the English language as well as customs and etiquette to the royal family in order to make them more “Modern”. One of the prime examples of orientalism is the purpose of Ms Loenowens’ trip. Like I said before, she is teaching the Royals of Siam how to be proper so they can look good for the many other Europeans who are visiting to decide if they’ll “accept” the kingdom. It is clear that Ms Loenowens is trying to white-wash their culture, and it is seen as the “right thing” in the movie.

Another big issue with the movie is how the King of Siam is portrayed. The barbaric and poorly mannered king is a horrible representation of Asian culture. Apart from the messed up portrayal of some of these characters, many of the actors playing the people of Siam are white when the characters are Asian. The man who plays the king is a Russian- American actor and the woman who plays Tup-Tim is Puerto Rican. Casting people who don’t have an eastern ethnicity is a very distasteful way to put on a film. Overall, the Westernization of the characters in, “The King and I” is a prime example of why Hollywood needs to understand the history of what they’re portraying. Maybe we can learn from these mistakes and not repeat them. I have already seen significant change since the release of this famous film.

The Role of Gender in “God of Small Things”

In the novel The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy the mastery of women is a typical topic that is showed by every generation in the novel. Roy expounds on the loaded social issues that plague Indian culture; she composed The God of Small Things after the corrupt system had been removed in India, yet it still controls the country. Roys views serve to see the imperfections within Indian culture, and therefore composed a novel with a message that demonstrated the issues that exists and still goes unmentioned. Through the significant subject of gender identity, Roy passes on a message that all individuals ought to be equivalent regardless of the sex of an individual. The idea is that sexual orientation is only a presentation since society has created. The figment is to suppress their internal wants and adjust to society’s optimal picture and portray the issues that make up a lot of restrictions.

Gender is a constrained job for the characters in The God of Small Things, and it exists essentially as a characterizing social develop. The genuine sexual orientation of the characters is created, on the grounds that the characters in the novel would be thrown out of Indian culture on the off chance that they acted in a way other than the one that was anticipated. The women of the novel are compelled to remain consistent within Indian culture, or, the results are unsuitably unforgiving. Gender identity should come from the acts and gestures that a person chooses to perform, not by the sex they were biologically assigned at birth.

The abuse that Mammachi endured by her husband influenced her in a strange way,

At Pappachi’s funeral, Mammachi cried until her contact lenses slid around in her eyes. Ammu told the twins that Mammachi was crying more because she was used to him than because she loved him. (49) 

The static nature of Mammachi’s life is evident, making it clear that she hated the idea of change, regardless of whether that change was the passing of her spouse or something else. Mammachi proceeds as a lady who lost her caring husband at his memorial service essentially in light of the fact that she was used to her job as a compliant lady who brought herself down to acknowledge her significant other’s disparaging nature towards her for the sum of their marriage. Mammachi had the chance to begin a real existence that would not be constrained by her significant other, however she would be unable to genuinely get away from the maltreatment that was perpetrated intellectually on her by Pappachi’s physical beatings and the end he put to her as a musician.

Numerous individuals despite everything stick to customary thoughts that people ought to carry on in manners that fall into explicit classes decided exclusively on their sexual orientation. However, male or female gender-specific identities are irrelevant in modern, civilized society. Gender roles are social builds created after some time and are not founded on normal human conduct. This is on the grounds that gender roles have advanced as an approach to arrange the vital errands done in early human culture. Some may state that because of the way that customary gender roles have been portrayed for such a long time, they ought not be changed, and are currently a key component in human advancement. Nevertheless, in many of the modern societies today, there is no need for traditional gender roles, because both men and women are able to do many of the same necessary tasks, thereby making gender-specific behaviors irrelevant.

Margaret Kochamma’s Display of Orientalism

Throughout “God of Small Things,” the reader is able to see how India is viewed from the Western world from tourists that are encountered throughout the novel, but specifically through the eyes of Margaret Kochamma. One of the first instances of the view of India from a tourists perspective is when the family goes to the airport to pick up Margaret Kochamma and Sophie Mol. Other Western families are also arriving and being greeted by their Indian relatives. Roy describes their encounters, “With love and a lick of shame that their families who had come to meet them were so… gawkish. Look at the way they dressed!” (134). The way the Western relatives disapprove of their Indian family is a display of orientalism. Westerns like to believe that what they do– the way they act, dress, talk– is the only “normal” way. Later in this passage, the Indian families are referred to as dirty. The way that the Westerners are treating the people in India is mainly based of Orientalism, and growing up believing that Indians are not well dressed, shameful, and dirty.

Margaret Kochamma’s role and her Orientalist view adds even more to the novel, and is arguably very important to the novel as a whole. When Margaret Kochamma told her coworkers she was going to India “The Heart of Darkness,” as the book describes it, they tell her that “Anything can happen to anyone” and “It’s best to be prepared” (252). Without saying it, her coworkers are implying what many Westerners think, that India is an unsafe country, especially for white people. Margaret Kochamma has reservations about bringing her daughter there for this exact reason. But, her worst fears are realized and her daughter dies in India. The fact that the whole book basically revolves around this event, one so deeply rooted in orientalism shows how important Orientalism is to this book. What is even more interesting to me is that the outside or Western view of India as unsafe is partially supported, with Sophie Mol dying. But it also refutes Orientalism because her death does not happen in the way most Westerners probably would’ve expected (something like a scary man kidnapping you off the street). Instead it is her own family, two young kids, who accidentally kill her.