The character of Velutha in The God of Small Things from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes
Velutha, the God of Small Things, transgresses the established . The Kochamma family has a history of poor relations between its male and female members. On the other hand, Ammu and the twins, Rahel and Estha. In The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy uses the character of Velutha to explore give a possible reason for the relationship between Ammu and Velutha . After Ammu calls her father a "[shit]-wiper" in Hindi for A related inferiority complex is evident in the interactions between Untouchables his family, and Ammu's relationship with Velutha.
Later, when they reveal the truth to the chief of police he is alarmed. He knows that Velutha is a Communist, and is afraid that if word gets out that the arrest and beating were wrongful, it will cause unrest among the local Communists. He threatens to hold Baby Kochamma responsible for falsely accusing Velutha. To save herself, Baby Kochamma tricks Rahel and Estha into believing that the two of them would be implicated as having murdered Sophie out of jealousy and were facing sure imprisonment for them and their Ammu.
She thus convinces them to lie to the inspector that Velutha had kidnapped them and had murdered Sophie. Velutha dies of his injuries overnight. After Sophie's funeral, Ammu goes to the police to tell the truth about her relationship with Velutha. Afraid of being exposed, Baby Kochamma convinces Chacko that Ammu and the twins were responsible for his daughter's death. Chacko kicks Ammu out of the house and forces her to send Estha to live with his father.
Estha never sees Ammu again. She dies alone a few years later at the age of After a turbulent childhood and adolescence in India, Rahel gets married and goes to America. There, she divorces before returning to Ayemenem after years of working dead-end jobs. Rahel and Estha, now 31, are reunited for the first time since they were children.
They had been haunted by their guilt and their grief-ridden pasts. It becomes apparent that neither twin ever found another person who understood them in the way they understand each other.
Toward the end of the novel, the twins have sex. The novel comes to a close with a nostalgic recounting of Ammu and Velutha's love affair.
He is a serious, intelligent, and somewhat nervous child who wears "beige and pointy shoes" and has an "Elvis puff. The narrator emphasizes that Estha's "Two Thoughts" in the pickle factory, stemming from this experience—that "Anything can happen to Anyone" and that "It's best to be prepared"—are critical in leading to his cousin's death.
Estha is the twin chosen by Baby Kochamma, because he is more "practical" and "responsible," to go into Velutha's cell at the end of the book and condemn him as his and Rahel's abductor. This trauma, in addition to the trauma of being shipped or "Returned" to Calcutta to live with his father, contributes to Estha's becoming mute at some point in his childhood. He never goes to college and acquires a number of habits, such as wandering on very long walks and obsessively cleaning his clothes.
He is so close to his sister that the narrator describes them as one person, despite having been separated for most of their lives. He is repeatedly referred to as "Silent.
As a girl of seven, her hair sits "on top of her head like a fountain" in a "Love-in-Tokyo" band, and she often wears red-tinted plastic sunglasses with yellow rims. An intelligent and straightforward person who has never felt socially comfortable, she is impulsive and wild, and it is implied that everyone but Velutha treats her as somehow lesser than her brother.
In later life, she becomes something of a drifter; several times, the narrator refers to her "Emptiness. Ammu Ammu is Rahel's and Estha's mother. She married their father referred to as Baba only to get away from her family.
He was an alcoholic, and she divorced him when he started to be violent toward her and her children. She went back to Ayemenem, where people avoided her on the days when the radio played "her music" and she got a wild look in her eyes. When the twins are seven, she has an affair with Velutha. This relationship is one of the cataclysmic events in the novel. She is a strict mother, and her children worry about losing her love.
Velutha Velutha is a Paravan, an Untouchablewho is exceptionally smart and works as a carpenter at the Ipe family's pickle factory. His name means white in Malayalambecause he is so dark. He returns to Ayemenem to help his father, Vellya Paapen, take care of his brother, who was paralyzed in an accident. He is an active member of the Marxist movement. Velutha is extremely kind to the twins, and has an affair with Ammu for which he is brutally punished.
Chacko Chacko is Estha's and Rahel's maternal uncle. He is four years elder to Ammu. They have a daughter, Sophie, whose death in Ayemenem is central to the story. Baby Kochamma Baby Kochamma is the twins' maternal great aunt. She is of petite build as a young woman but becomes enormously overweight, with "a mole on her neck," by the time of Sophie's death. She maintains an attitude of superiority because of her education as a garden designer in the United States and her burning, unrequited love for an Irish Catholic priest, her relationship with whom is the only meaningful event in her life.
Her own emptiness and failure spark bitter spite for her sister's children, further driven by her prudish code of conventional values. Her spite ultimately condemns the twins, the lovers, and herself to a lifetime of misery.
Themes[ edit ] Indian history and politics[ edit ] Indian history and politics shape the plot and meaning of The God of Small Things in a variety of ways. Some of Roy's commentary is on the surface, with jokes and snippets of wisdom about political realities in India. However, the novel also examines the historical roots of these realities and develops profound insights into the ways in which human desperation and desire emerge from the confines of a firmly entrenched caste society.
During the time in India, class was a major issue and still is in many parts of India. Class relations and cultural tensions[ edit ] In addition to her commentary on Indian history and politics, Roy evaluates the Indian post-colonial complex, or the cultural attitudes of many Indians toward their former British rulers.
After Ammu calls her father a "[shit]-wiper" in Hindi for his blind devotion to the British, Chacko explains to the twins that they come from a family of Anglophiles, or lovers of British culture, "trapped outside their own history and unable to retrace their steps. A related inferiority complex is evident in the interactions between Untouchables and Touchables in Ayemenem.
Vellya Paapen is an example of an Untouchable so grateful to the Touchable class that he is willing to kill his son, Velutha, when he discovers that Velutha has broken the most important rule of class segregation—that there be no inter-caste sexual relations.
In part, this reflects how many Untouchables have internalized caste segregation. Nearly all of the relationships in the novel are somehow colored by cultural and class tension, including the twins' relationship with Sophie, Chacko's relationship with Margaret, Pappachi's relationship with his family, and Ammu's relationship with Velutha. Characters such as Baby Kochamma and Pappachi are the most rigid and vicious in their attempts to uphold that social code, while Ammu and Velutha are the most unconventional and daring in unraveling it.
Roy implies that this is why they are punished so severely for their transgression. Forbidden love[ edit ] One interpretation of Roy's theme of forbidden love is that love is such a powerful and uncontrollable force that it cannot be contained by any conventional social code.
Another is that conventional society somehow seeks to destroy real love, which is why love in the novel is consistently connected to loss, death, and sadness. Also, because all romantic love in the novel relates closely to politics and history, it is possible that Roy is stressing the connection of personal desire to larger themes of history and social circumstances. Love would therefore be an emotion that can be explained only in terms of two peoples' cultural backgrounds and political identities.
Social discrimination[ edit ] The story is set in the caste society of India, at a time when members of the Untouchable Paravan or Paryan caste were not permitted to touch members of higher castes or enter their houses. The Untouchables were considered polluted beings.
The God of Small Things - Wikipedia
They had the lowliest jobs and lived in subhuman conditions. In India, the caste system was considered a way to organize society. Roy's book shows how terribly cruel such a system can be.The God of Small Things Trailer
Along with the caste system, readers see an economic class struggle. The Ipes are considered upper class. They are factory owners, the dominating class. Mammachi and Baby Kochamma would not deign to mix with those of a lower class. However, Roy shows other types of less evident discrimination. For example, there is religious discrimination. It is unacceptable for a Syrian Christian to marry a Hindu and vice versa, and Hindus can only marry a Hindu from the same caste.
In more than one passage of the book, the reader feels Rahel's and Estha's discomfort at being half Hindu. Baby Kochamma constantly makes disparaging comments about Hindus. On the other hand, there is discomfort even between Christian denominations as is shown by Pappachi's negative reaction when Baby Kochamma converts to Catholicism.
Chacko suffers more veiled racial discrimination, as it seems his daughter also does. His English wife's parents were shocked and disapproving that their daughter would marry an Indian, no matter how well educated. Sophie, at one point, mentions to her cousins that they are all "wog," while she is "half-wog. Discrimination is a way of protecting their privileged position in society.
Betrayal[ edit ] Betrayal is a constant element in this story. Active Themes Ammu turns on the radio and it is playing a song about star-crossed lovers lost at sea.
Ammu knows then that the God of Small Things is Velutha. Just as Velutha did, Ammu now seems to recognize her inevitable fate and doomed love. Because of this they will also share in her punishment. Ammu eventually gets up and looks at herself in the bathroom mirror. She examines her body and thinks about what the future holds for her, the dreadful monotony of a disgraced, man-less woman in Ayemenem.
Critically assess the role of Velutha in the novel The God of Small Things.
In this moment of self-reflection, Ammu seems to recognize that her wilder, fiercer self will eventually rebel against the monotonous aging of a woman like Baby Kochamma. The bleakness of her future seems to justify a forbidden relationship with Velutha. While Ammu is in the bathroom, the narrator elaborates on the bedroom where Estha and Rahel still arewhich Ammu would later be locked into until Chacko broke down the door and kicked her out of the house.
The narrator muses on the small things in that scene — Ammu hemming a ribbon, wood splintering around her.