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The God of Small Things

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The God of Small Things Cover

ISBN13: 9780812979657
ISBN10: 0812979656
Condition: Standard
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Reading Group Guide

1. Discuss the narrative structure of The God of Small Things, which intertwines scenes from the past and the present, and Arundhati Roys writing style. Why do you suppose the author chose not to unfold the narrative in a more linear way?

2. Share your thoughts about the novels setting and the impression the author creates of rural India. What universal themes are there in The God of Small Things that transcend the specific time and place in which the story is set?

3. Ammu is described as being "an unmixable mix. The infinite tenderness of motherhood and the reckless rage of a suicide bomber." How are these dual aspects of her personality evident throughout the story? Is Ammu a good mother? Why or why not?

4. How would you characterize Baby Kochamma? Why does she not only take pleasure in other peoples grief and misfortune but actively seeks to perpetuate it? Why does Baby Kochamma harbor such resentment toward Ammu and the twins in particular?

5. Describe the dynamics of the Ipe household, including Mammachis relationship with each of her children. How do these dynamics change once Margaret Kochamma and Sophie Mol arrive?

6. Pappachis Moth "tormented him and his children and his childrens children." What is the significance of Pappachis Moth, both to him and, by extension, to his family? Why is the image of the Moth associated most often with Rahel?

7. Discuss the class differences among the characters in the novel, using Ammus and Veluthas families as examples. To what extent are their lives shaped by the caste into which theyre born? Why does Vellya Paapen go to Mammachi and reveal what he knows about his son and Ammu, and why is he willing to kill Velutha because of it?

8. Discuss the chain of events that led to both Sophie Mols acci­dent and Veluthas murder. Why does Margaret Kochamma blame Estha for her daughters drowning, while Chacko vents his rage at Ammu? Does anyone bear responsibility for Sophie Mols death, or was it simply a tragic accident?

9. How do religion and politics factor into the characters lives? Why does Comrade Pillai tell Inspector Mathew that Velutha does not have the backing of his political party? Would the Comrades support have made a difference in saving Veluthas life?

10. Baby Kochamma, Mammachi, and Kochu Maria devise a plan to save the familys reputation by claiming that Ammu was raped by Velutha. "It wasnt entirely their fault, though, that the whole thing spun out of control like a deranged top." Are they account­able, at least in part, for Veluthas murder? Why or why not?

11. How is marriage portrayed in The God of Small Things, particularly that of Mammachi and Pappachi? In general, how are the women in the story treated by men? What examples are there of double standards, such as Mammachis willingness to overlook Chackos indiscretions but not Ammus affair?

12. Why does Baby Kochamma manipulate Estha and Rahel into falsely confessing that they had been kidnapped by Velutha? Later Rahel questions whether they were deceived into doing what they did and ultimately conclude that she and Estha "knew that they had been given a choice." Is it fair to lay blame on these two children for believing they needed to save their mother? How does this incident continue to affect Rahel into adulthood?

13. The Love Laws "lay down who should be loved. And how. And how much." Which characters in the book defy the Love Laws? Were you surprised at Rahel and Esthas intimacy towards the end of the novel? Why or why not?

14. After Veluthas death, it is "the end of living" for Ammu, Estha, and Rahel. How is this sentiment born out for each of these three characters? Is there hope yet for Estha and Rahel?

15. What does Rahel, as an adult, see differently about the circumstances surrounding that defining day of her childhood? In what ways has Ayemenem changed during the years of her absence-her familys house, the river, the factory, the History House? Has anything stayed the same?

16. What is your overall impression of The God of Small Things? Why do you suppose the author chose to conclude with a scene depicting Ammu and Velutha making love by the river?

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 5 comments:

Sitara, October 21, 2014 (view all comments by Sitara)
I couldn't breathe when I'd finished this - Roy has spectacular range of motion, and an eye for beauty and horror side by side that I haven't found anywhere else. She follows the fall out of one woman's life in the lives of everyone around her, especially her twin son and daughter, moving lazily backwards in time. Underneath and throughout the story throbs the lush history and scenery of Southern India. Though some mysterious power, Roy has bent down and found a way to imbue insects and plants life with magic. Esthappen and Rahel see the world in their own small way...and Roy seems to make the point that these small things are the ones worth clutching at. Loving big sometimes costs too much too be worth it. Though the book is graphic and at times, desperately sad, it carries an intense beauty with it and asks the reader what the Cost of Living is and why we keep living in spite of it. An absolute recommend.
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Mary Stewart, January 12, 2011 (view all comments by Mary Stewart)
A moving, poetic love story that opens a magical window to Indian culture, caste system and life.
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JLB9698, January 31, 2010 (view all comments by JLB9698)
This book amply demonstrates that we are all basically simple human beings who just want to be loved and respected. It is the saddest book I have read....so much unfairness of things. I was profoundly affected.
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(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780812979657
Author:
Roy, Arundhati
Publisher:
Random House Trade
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Domestic fiction
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
fiction;india;novel;booker prize;twins;family;literature;magical realism;indian literature;20th century;childhood;contemporary fiction;caste;love;contemporary;kerala;indien;literary fiction;indian fiction;booker prize winner;caste system;siblings;1990s;tr
Subject:
fiction;india;novel;twins;booker prize;family;literature;magical realism;indian literature;20th century;childhood;contemporary fiction;caste;love;contemporary;kerala;indien;literary fiction;booker prize winner;caste system;siblings;1990s;arundhati roy;tra
Subject:
fiction;india;novel;twins;booker prize;family;literature;magical realism;20th century;indian literature;childhood;contemporary fiction;caste;love;contemporary;kerala;indien;literary fiction;booker prize winner;caste system;siblings;1990s;arundhati roy;tra
Subject:
fiction;india;novel;twins;booker prize;family;literature;magical realism;indian literature;20th century;childhood;contemporary fiction;love;caste;contemporary;kerala;indien;booker prize winner;literary fiction;caste system;siblings;1990s;tragedy;arundhati
Subject:
fiction;india;novel;twins;booker prize;family;literature;magical realism;indian literature;20th century;childhood;contemporary fiction;love;contemporary;caste;kerala;indien;indian fiction;booker prize winner;literary fiction;siblings;caste system;1990s;tr
Subject:
fiction;india;novel;twins;booker prize;family;literature;magical realism;indian literature;20th century;childhood;contemporary fiction;love;contemporary;caste;kerala;indien;indian fiction;booker prize winner;literary fiction;siblings;caste system;1990s;tr
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20081231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
8 x 5.2 x .7 in .625 lb

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The God of Small Things Used Trade Paper
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Product details 352 pages Random House Trade - English 9780812979657 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , "A banquet for all the senses," said "Newsweek" of this bestselling and Booker Prize-winning literary novel--a richly textured first book about the tragic decline of one family whose members suffer the terrible consequences of forbidden love.
"Synopsis" by , US
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