Arundhati Roy: The God Of Small Things

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Arundhati Roy: The God of Small Things This prose piece by Arundhati Roy written in 1997 raises critical questions about the British legacy in the colonial exploitation and suppression of India. Throughout the extract and through the story of an “Anglophile family”, Arundhati Roy examines the loss of Indian culture and identity. The enigma of the title - who is this God, what is this God? - suggests the insignificance of the Indian culture in comparison to the British. Yet the association of the “small things” with the word ‘God’ reinforces a hope for the preservation of the Indian culture. The first “small things” the reader is introduced to, are the cuff-links. Not only symbols of Western opulence and corruption, they also metaphorically suggest restrainment. The awe with which the twins then regard these cuffs, the “affection for the English language” and the “logic” of English, introduces the main theme of language. This theme of language yet also acts as a restrainment for Indian families. The English language stands as the embodiment of the English identity, imposing upon Indian identity. Language is hence presented as a medium to assert one’s identity, but also as a controlling, manipulatory factor. For instance, Chacko’s increasingly short sentences - “We belong nowhere”, “To matter.” - demonstrate the fragmented speech of a non-native speaker. Language prevents Chacko from expressing himself clearly and fulfilling his self. This stresses the importance of
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