Analysis Of Arundhati Roy's The God Of Small Things

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Choosing what one may want for themselves versus what their family and society expect from them are decisions that form one’s 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 the late 1900’s 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 inferior by their family…show more content…
Ammu cannot stand her family's prejudices against her and their unsaid, demeaning intentions. She can feel her life being sucked out of her: “... the conversation circled like a moth around the white child and her mother as though they were the only source of light. Ammu felt she would die, whither and die, if she heard another word. If she had to endure another minute of Chacko’s proud, tennis-trophy smile. Or the undercurrent of sexual jealousy that emanated from Mammachi. Or Baby Kochamma conversation that was designed to exclude Ammu and her children, to inform them of their place in the scheme of things” (Roy 312). Ammu senses the underlying meaning of every word her family speaks. She feels like her life has no escape from this web of lies; Ammu has no room to live in Ayemenem. Her environment reeks of judgement and exclusion. Indian civilization has been wired against Ammu; her race, sex, and happiness all compose an ultimate disappointment. While Ammu values honesty over everything her family members would rather protect their reputation rather than spill the beans. After Baby Kochamma lies about Ammu and Velutha’s relationship, Ammu realizes what her happiness has cost Velutha: “He’s dead… I've killed him” (Roy 10). Finally Ammu chooses what she wants after her first marriage: her love for Velutha. Yet somehow her decision to finally feel fulfilled leads her down a…show more content…
Throughout the novel, Ammu develops from a close-minded character into one who endeavors prosperity. Her environment implants beliefs that her life ends after her so-called mistakes into her mind: “She was twenty-seven that year, and in the pit of her stomach she carried the cold knowledge that, for her, life had been lived. She had had one chance. She made a mistake. She married the wrong man” (Roy 38). This society's inability to forgive Ammu for her one error leads her to believe life ceased. Ammu wishes to restart in order to feel satisfied when in reality her family needs to renew their static ideology. Life is meant to give multiple chances because people learn from mistakes and improve their future choices. Ammu has no room to experiment and realize right from wrong, or in other words, live. Indian dynamics inevitably lead few to a life they desire because of all the dead ends at every road. Instead of encouraging improvement they intend to cut off happiness when the driver makes one wrong turn. The sole instance in which no one ruins Ammu’s pleasure takes place in her dream, but even there her mind limits the bliss in the dream: “He could only do one thing at a time. If he held her he couldn’t kiss her. If he kissed her, he couldn’t see her. If he saw her, he couldn’t feel her” (Roy 205). This man in her dream
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