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The Historical and social context of The God of Small Things

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Sunny Qin

on 5 May 2014

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Transcript of The Historical and social context of The God of Small Things

Contexts of
The God of Small Things

Historical and Culture Contexts
Life of Author
Reception
Religions
Cast System/Untouchable
Arundhati Roy
Grew up in a small town called Aymanam beside the river Minachil
Fictional village of Ayemenem and the river Meenachal
These settings are even more rural than their real life inspirations.
Childhood
Divorced parents of different religions
Syrian Christian mother from Kerala and Hindu father from Bengal
Father owned a tea estate
Grew up mainly with her mother after parents divorce
Went to a school founded by her mother
Personal and unusual writing

God Of Small Things
Studied architecture in Delhi- Raphel
Wrote two unsucessful screenplays and a television series
Spent four years on GOST- only novel
English only common language of India
After
Used fame and financial security to become a social activist
Written essays to oppose such topics as the war in Afghanistan and India's Nuclear Weapons program
Reception
Recieved good reviews
Awarded the Man Booker Prize in 1997
Most prestigious prize in Bristish, Irish and Commonwealth Literature
Controversy
Caused controversy over untouchable-touchable relationships and critiques of communism
Obscenity
Charged with obscenity for final chapter
Lawyer named Sabu Thomas
Not taken very seriously- not convicted
Religions
Cast system
Divorce and Marriage
Family relations
Women's Role
Communists


"It was the only place in the world where religions coincide; there's Christianity, Hinduism, Marxism and Islam and they all live together and rub each other down ... To me, I couldn't think of a better location for a book about human beings. " --Arundhati Roy
Syrian Chirstians: notable members--descendants of the high caste Hindus

Proserous, well-educated and own land and property
Why? Many groups have inhibited the land such as the Dutch, etc.
Example: The Ipe fanily the author's family
However, Kerala also embraces other religions such as Muslims, Hindus etc--diversity unlike other parts in India.

Velutha: "In the way he walked. The way he held his head. The quiet way he offered suggestions without being asked".--Comments from his father Vellya Baoben


The Caste System
Historical development: Hindu Tradition: 4 different social levels
reappears in Catholic and Protestant Churchs in Kerala
Unfair treatments: untouchable ==>Permanently polluted by their occupations
Compeletly different life lines
However, here are the rule breakers

Velutha and Ammu
Marriage and Divorce
People's attitude toward DIVORCE
Acceptable in the law
However, economically
Men are reltively unaffected
Huge difficulties for women, especially those with children--Ammu
Socially: Women often come back to their families but are not wholeheartly welcomed--Ammu
She subscribed wholeheartedly to the commonly held view that a married daughter had no position in her parent's home.
Words could not describe Baby Kochamma's outrage. (45)
Family Relations
3 or 4 generations of familes live together
interconnected including uncles and aunts; first and second cousins
Inner cirlce
Women's Role
More empowered than in most other parts of India—high literacy rate enjoy greater social independence and personal freedom
Divorce? Marriage?
Communists
Politics: the Congress Party in central government and the Communist Party of India Communists was in power in Kerala
Why? the widespread peasant and labor movements and trade unions activities
1950s-60s:
CP(M): peaceful trasition
CP(ML): violent branch of CP
Comarade Phillai
Baby Kochamma are forced to wage flags and sing the slogan==>Velutha among the protesters
Full transcript