Character Analysis: The God Of Small Things

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Rigid Societies that Prevent Living, Prevent Improvement
Choosing between what someone may want versus what their family and society expect from them are decisions that determine character and happiness. In Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things, many characters pine over their own satisfaction versus others. The rigid and judgmental structure of the Indian caste system in 1969 separates the protagonists from progression. Specifically, Roy’s character Ammu endeavors to feel content, but struggles in doing so while pleasing her family. Indian hierarchy and social insincerity ultimately trap Ammu, causing her to no longer live, but merely exist.
The caste system and societal norms cause Ammu to feel unworthy of living joyfully. Ammu’s children are seen as inferior by their family because their father is a Hindu and their parents are divorced. Instead of showing love, Baby Kochamma shows the twins her dislike for them: “Baby Kochamma disliked the twins, for considered them doomed, fatherless waifs. Worse they were Half-Hindu Hybrids whom no self respecting Syrian Christian would ever marry” (Roy 44). Baby Kochamma shows no empathy for Ammu. In her mind the children are automatically ‘doomed’ because of
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Her society frowns upon her because of one mistake she made, generating her anxiety to ever live again. Ammu then gathers her courage to defy society to love an untouchable, yet even when she tries to live again she ends up miserable with a death partially on her hands. If Indian society became more open to improvement, all characters, specifically Ammu, would have the opportunities to follow a life they want. In order for this social reform to occur history must be overlooked, so progress for all people would be accessible. Roy conveys how ultimately strict societal norms lead to no one’s happy ending and without empathy no human

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