Critical Race Theory in The God of Small Things
The relationship between Ammu and Velutha is a revolt against the boundaries made In the novel, the characters Estha, Rahel, Ammu, and Velutha are the prime violators of these .. IB English God of Small Things Comprehension Quiz . Ammu turned back to Estha and Rahel and her eyes were blurred jewels. Rahel and Estha sleeping together isn't the only moment with overtones of incest in. Estha and Rahel are in the car with Ammu, Chacko, and Baby Kochamma on their We find out that Ammu's relationship with Estha and Rahel is complicated.
Boundaries blur as tapioca fences take root and bloom. Brick walls turn mossgreen. Pepper vines snake up electric poles. Wild creepers burst through latente banks and spill across the flooded roads. Boats ply in the bazaars. And small fish appear in the puddles that fill the PWD potholes on the highways.
The God of Small Things
Slanting silver ropes slammed into loose earth, plowing it up like gunfire. The old house on the hill wore its steep, gabled roof pulled over its ears like a low hat. The walls, streaked with moss, had grown soft, and bulged a little with dampness that seeped up from the ground. The wild, overgrown garden was full of the whisper and scurry of small lives.
In the undergrowth a rat snake rubbed itself against a glistening stone. Hopeful yellow bullfrogs cruised the scummy pond for mates.
A drenched mongoose flashed across the leaf strewn driveway. The house itself looked empty. The doors and windows were locked. The front verandah bare.
But the skyblue Plymouth with chrome tailfins was still parked outside, and inside, Baby Kochamma was still alive. She was Rahel's baby grandaunt, her grandfather's younger sister. Her name was really Navomi, Navomi Ipe, but everybody called her Baby.
She became Baby Kochamma when she was old enough to be an aunt. Rahel hadn't come to see her, though. Neither niece nor baby grandaunt labored under any illusions on that account. Rahel had come to see her brother, Estha. They were two-egg twins. Born from separate but simultaneously fertilized eggs. Estha--Esthappen--was the older by eighteen minutes. The confusion lay in a deeper, more secret place.
In those early amorphous years when memory had only just begun, when life was full of Beginnings and no Ends, and Everything was Forever, Esthappen and Rahel thought of themselves together as Me, and separately, individually, as We or Us. As though they were a rare breed of Siamese twins, physically separate, but with joint identities. Now, these years later, Rahel has a memory of waking up one night giggling at Estha's funny dream. She has other memories too that she has no right to have.
She remembers, for instance though she hadn't been therewhat the Orangedrink Lemondrink Man did to Estha in Abhilash Talkies. She remembers the taste of the tomato sandwiches--Estha's sandwiches, that Estha ate--on the Madras Mail to Madras. And these are only the small things.
Anyway, now she thinks of Estha and Rahel as Them, because, separately, the two of them are no longer what They were or ever thought They'd be. Their lives have a size and a shape now. Estha has his and Rahel hers.
Edges, Borders, Boundaries, Brinks and Limits have appeared like a team of trolls on their separate horizons. Short creatures with long shadows, patrolling the Blurry End. Gentle half-moons have gathered under their eyes and they are as old as Ammu was when she died. But a viable die-able age.
They were nearly born on a bus, Estha and Rahel. They abandoned the car and flagged down a crowded State Transport bus. With the queer compassion of the very poor for the comparatively well off, or perhaps only because they saw how hugely pregnant Ammu was, seated passengers made room for the couple, and for the rest of the journey Estha and Rahel's father had to hold their mother's stomach with them in it to prevent it from wobbling. That was before they were divorced and Ammu came back to live in Kerala.
According to Estha, if they'd been born on the bus, they'd have got free bus rides for the rest of their lives. It wasn't clear where he'd got this information from, or how he knew these things, but for years the twins harbored a faint resentment against their parents for having diddled them out of a lifetime of free bus rides.
They also believed that if they were killed on a zebra crossing, the Government would pay for their funerals. They had the definite impression that that was what zebra crossings were meant for.
This relationship with an untouchable is also seen with their mother, Ammu, who enters into a sexual relationship with him, as mentioned earlier. That lay down who should be loved. This scene is that of an incestuous night of lust between Estha and Rahel that, rather than being out of lust, is an action that is the result of their mutual grief.
This was a violation not of the Love Laws that designated who a person could love in the terms of class, but of how family members love one another. These two cultural barricades display a traditional discourse that resonates in the setting of the story. This novel speaks to the gray area that lies between a cultural belief in a nefarious black and pristine white; the injustice that arises when strict social divisions are enforced.
Challenging the ideology that caste systems and love laws are appropriate, The God of Small Things eradicates the idea that social obedience is for the greater good — displaying rather the evidence of victims; slaughtered, lost, and unloved in a society that does not care and does not love.
The character or characters who engage in unlawful sexual acts are punished while unwanted or undesired race is purged. In this Indian society that worships England, Love Laws, and the Caste System race and sex creates intra-racial racism within the Indian communities that is reinforced with force through the government and Caste System. Intra-racial racism is a result of internalized racism while internalized racism is a result of Anglophilia. The God of Small Things depicts this concept clearly through its woven story of creatures and culture.
Internalized racism reigns as the characters believe in white superiority. Pappachi would believe an Indian being adulterous but he regards the English so highly, an Englishman would be incapable of such a travesty — hence the Englishman is more honorable, decent, and virtuous than an Indian man.
Roy also places emphasis on the characters that are of the white race. The household waits in anticipation for the arrival of the English child, Sophie Mol, and her mother Margaret — an English woman that Chacko married. She left Chacko for a more appealing Englishman named Joe. Rahel as well marries an American and relocated to Boston, only to return to Ayemenem after their divorce.
The Indian relationship that is depicted in the book is between Pappachi and Mammachi, Babba and Ammu — both relationships suffer from horrible conditions: This displays the lack of honor or virtue by the Indian males and a stronger argument that the Englishman is superior. This internalized racism grows becoming more than a feeling of inferiority to the English.
It transforms into intra-racial racism — a discrimination within the Indian community. Darker Indians are looked down upon while paler Indians, such as Sophie Mol, who is in fact half English half Indian, reign with superiority.
In The God of Small Things, the author makes clear that the Indian main characters have internalized the supposed superiority of the white people and then project this view upon the darker within their culture. Moreover, the depth of color and its association within inferiority reaches its pinnacle within The God of Small Things through the character of Velutha.
Through the almost worship of Sophie Mol and, to some degree, Margaret, the meager acceptance of Ammu, and the castigation of Velutha, the reader begins to form a hierarchy of color where lightness is praised and darkness is mistrusted and illtreated.
This man had taken a young boy as his lover and then killed himself when the child was taken away, leading to the connection of even the word black as something taboo Roy When Sophie Mol drowns it is Velutha, who was not even present when the accident occurred, who is blamed and then brutally beaten, and dies in prison.
In conclusion, intra-racial racism can be seen in The God of Small Things through the hierarchal distinction of skin color in India. This can be seen in relation to the caste system as well as the family structure. Anglo traits in a person make them worthy of worship while dark skin reduces a person to the lowest degree. One can see this most specifically, as noted above, in the characters of Sophie Mol and Velutha, characters who are polar opposites in the novel and are treated so.
They continue through the novel, adrift in an unending quest for stability, fighting the inner voice of double consciousness while stagnated by the outside chaos of hybridity. Estha, upon his return to Ayemenem wanders the streets of the town and then explores greater distances in surrounding areas.
Never revealing himself, never appearing not to. Emerging through the chaos unscathed. By this point Estha has grown to a man but has suffered from double consciousness since his early childhood.
The God of Small Things Essay Topics & Writing Assignments
Rahel is much the same. She is unable to maintain a relationship with her husband due to the results of her double consciousness. Because of the double consciousness inflicted on her, Rahel only felt at home and stable with Estha who mutually floundered through his existence.
That the emptiness in one twin was only a version of the quietness in the other. They have to stop for a train, and Rahel gets nervous that they're going to miss the beginning of the movie.
She reads the stop sign backwards. We learn that Estha and Rahel are skilled readers, well-versed in Kipling and Shakespeare.
Miss Mitten then told Baby Kochamma that she saw Satan in their eyes. These names will pop up a lot throughout the book. Estha sees Murlidharan, a lunatic who lost both of his arms in Singapore in in his first week of fighting in the war. All of a sudden, there's a growing hum in the air, and they hear police whistles blowing. A crowd of men appears marching in a column with red flags and banners. Chacko tells everyone to roll up their windows and that everything is going to be OK.
We learn that Chacko identifies as a Marxist. The swarm of thousands of communists overtakes the road. Nobody has a complete explanation for why the Communist Party is so successful in Kerala, but they give us a few potential theories.
We get a flashback that gives us a crash course on communism in Kerala: The Communist Party came to power in Inthey won reelection, but by that time they were divided into two factions: The Naxalites started organizing peasants into factions that terrorized the middle class. Namboodiripad, the leader of the CPI, expelled all the Naxalites from the CPI and "went on with the business of harnessing anger for parliamentary purposes" 2.
We learn that the people involved in the march that's taking over the roads are on their way to present a set of demands to Comrade E. One of these demands is that the Untouchables no longer be referred to by their caste name. For more on caste, see the theme discussion of "Society and Class.
All of a sudden, Rahel sees Velutha. When she rolls down the window and calls out to him, he freezes in his tracks. She continues trying to get his attention, but he disappears into the crowd. Meanwhile, Ammu slaps Rahel's legs to get her to sit down. We flash forward to a day many years later. Rahel is on a train in New York and has a flashback of Ammu's anger at that moment. Larry tries to make a joke and wonders why she doesn't laugh. Just as quickly as we flashed forward, we flash back to learn more about Velutha.
We learn that Velutha's dad, Vellya Paapen, would bring him to the Ayemenem House to deliver coconuts. Pappachi wouldn't let them in the house — nobody would because of their caste. Velutha and Vellya Paapen are Paravans, part of the Untouchable caste lowest on the totem pole.
We also find out that when the British came to Malabar, Velutha's grandfather converted to Christianity Anglicanism, or the English Church so his family could escape the discrimination they faced under the Hindu caste system. This move sort of shot the family in the foot; after Independence, the family wasn't entitled to any benefits from the government.
We learn that when Velutha was eleven, Mammachi noticed that he was really good with his hands. He would make little toys for Ammu, three years his senior. Mammachi encouraged Vellya Paapen to send Velutha to school, and he was trained in carpentry.
When he got back from school, he helped Mammachi with the machinery in the factory. Vellya Paapen wasn't too jazzed that Velutha seemed to disregard his place in the social scheme of things. He tried to warn Velutha about his behavior but he realized that he was not exactly sure what to warn him of. One day Velutha disappeared and didn't show up again for four years. While he was gone, his mother Chella died of tuberculosis and his brother Kuttapen broke his back and was paralyzed.
Now in Decemberthat is Velutha has been back in Ayemenem for about five months, and Mammachi has put him in charge of maintenance of the factory. The other factory workers aren't thrilled because of his class status — they don't think a Paravan should be a carpenter.
We find out that at some point Vellya Paapen is going to discover some sort of romantic meetings involving Velutha and is going to run crying to Mammachi about it. Ever since Velutha has come back to Ayemenem, Rahel and Estha have thought of him as their best friend. We snap back to the scene in the car. A man opens the door and taunts Rahel.
Then he makes Baby Kochamma hold his red flag and asks her to wave it and repeat the words he tells her to say. Chacko asks Rahel if she's sure it was really Velutha.