‘The God of Small Things’ by Arundhati Roy Plot Summary
‘The God of Small Things’ is a novel by Arundhati Roy. It was published in 1996. It tells the story of Estha and Rahel, twin brother and sister. Even though this novel is about the interpersonal complications of a normal Indian family, it is also about societal and cultural limits. It addresses the issue of the Indian caste system, as well as the limitations on who one may and should love. This is the most extensively sold novel ever published in India.
The God of Small Things Plot Summary
The events of ‘The God of Small Things’ are given in bits and pieces, usually moving back and forth between scenes from 1969 and 1993, with backstory scattered throughout. The storyline is set in Ayemenem, Kerala, India, and revolves around the affluent, land-owning Syrian Christian Ipe family. The majority of the story takes place in 1969, and it centers on Estha and Rahel, seven-year-old twins who live with their mother Ammu, grandmother Mammachi, uncle Chacko, and great-aunt Baby Kochamma. Arundhati Roy’s first and only fiction novel is this one.
The story starts in 1969, when fraternal twins Rahel and Estha were 7 years old, and ends in 1993 when they reunite at the age of 31. The story begins with their family history and how Pappachi, their grandfather, missed out on becoming a well-known entomologist. Pappachi used to beat Mammachi, their grandmother, daily throughout his life. They had a daughter named Ammu and a son named Chacko. Chacko completed his studies in England, where he married Margaret, an English woman. Their daughter’s name is Sophie. Their marriage, however, soon fell apart, and Margaret married another man, Joe. Chacko returned to India after his divorce.
Ammu, on the other hand, desired to live an adventurous life and therefore decided to move to Ayemenem to live with a relative. There, Ammu met and married a guy named Baba. Esthappen, a boy, and Rahel, a girl, are their twins. Baba was abusive and incompetent, which was why he was fired from his job. He allowed his boss to have sex with Ammu to reclaim his job. Ammu, on the other hand, refused and returned to her house with the children.
After the death of a man with whom she was in love, Chacko asked his ex-wife and daughter Sophie to visit his home in Ayemenem. As a result, Chacko and his family went to the airport to pick them up. However, on the way, they were stopped by a communist rally. Rahel noticed Velutha, who is a great friend, holding a red flag. Velutha worked in their family’s pickle factory as an untouchable maintenance worker.
They headed to the movies after the protest to see their favorite film. Rahel became jealous of the attention Sophie was getting. He visited Velutha to discuss it and told him that she spotted him at the march. But she wasn’t going to tell anyone. Ammu became jealous when she saw her daughter and Velutha talking.
Meanwhile, Estha informed his sister of his intention to take a vacation. They found a boat to fix up and get ready. During this time, Ammu and Velutha were revealed to be having an affair. Due to Velutha’s low social status, however, it was forbidden. Thus, Ammu was confined to her room by her family. Assuming that it was then the best moment to escape, Sophie and the kids left the house with the boat. Sophie drowned and died when a log collided with the boat on the way. Rahel and Estha managed to save their lives and went to a large place called “History House” to hide.
The family interpreted Sophie’s death as a message to keep Velutha away from Ammu, and they blamed him for everything. They told the cops that Velutha raped Ammu and kidnapped the children. Velutha died as a result of police brutality.
Estha moved in with his father, Baba, and Rahel stayed with Mammachi, while Ammu went out on her own. Rahel reunited with her mother after many years, who was suffering from a lung disease that would eventually kill her. Rahel decided to move to America after completing her studies. She married a white man she doesn’t truly love, there.
At the age of 31, Rahel comes to know that her brother, Estha, had returned to Ayemenem, and she travelled back to see him. She realized that her brother had become mute due to her Baba. Rahel, on the other hand, was determined to reunite with her brother, so she spent a lot of time with him and reminisced with him. As a result, they have intercourse for the first time, and they are with someone they love for the first time. The fraternal twins, Rahel and Estha, reflect the novel’s major themes, which include forbidden love, discrimination, and familial and social difficulties in such a huge family with so much at stake.