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The God of Small Things
Transcript of The God of Small Things
Small Group Discussion
Structure and Time
1. “By presenting the novel’s temporal framework not as a continuous narrative but as a disordered mix of various times that can be pieced together only by the reader (if at all), Roy’s text echoes the way her characters are experiencing the present moment, one always already haunted by past and future events” (Outka 26).
How does this quote from Outka’s essay “Trauma and Temporal Hybridity in Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things” connect with the postcolonial and postmodern theories?
2. Is “time as destroyer” the novel's most insistent theme? How are the blue Plymouth, the pickle factory, Rahel's toy wristwatch (which always reads "ten to two"), and other objects related to this theme?
3. Roy has said that her architectural studies determined her novel's structure. In what ways can we view the novel's plan and construction as architectural? In what ways is the novel's "architecture" related to the significance of actual buildings in the novel?
1. In the New York Times review of The God of Small Things Alice Traux writes “Unlike most first novels, The God of Small Things is an anti-Bildungsroman, for Estha and Rahel have never properly grown up”. Do you agree with Traux? Have Estha and Rahel never grown up because their childhood has been “abducted” from them? If so, who is the abductor?
2. What does Roy define as Small Things? Big things? Which characters are associated with each group? Who or what is the God of Small Things?
3. Is there anything truly shocking about Estha and Rahel’s lovemaking in the next-to-final chapter? What does Roy mean when she writes, “There is very little that anyone could say to clarify what happened next. Nothing that (in Mammachi’s book) would separate Sex from Love. Or Needs from Feelings” ( Roy 310)? What connections can you draw from Ammu and Velutha’s affair and Rahel and Estha’s incest?
Would you consider Ammu, Estha and Rahel to be apart of Small Things? How is each character shunned by society?
PG 51 - 52
Kari Saipu's house - "Ayemenem's own Kurtz"
PG 119 "turning its back"...
1. What other examples of boundaries/spatial inclusion/ exclusion have you encountered in your reading? Are boundaries ever explicitly challenged?
2. How does Arundhati Roy represent “Western” spaces of meaning and their relationships with Indian culture? (Think Abhilash Talkies) Are any characters shown having agency against these spaces, or are they unknowingly accepted?