Sample Literature Paper on The God of Small Things

  1. Explain why Roy describes Estha’s traumatic encounter in such a strangely indirect and stylized manner. What is the impact of this choice?

Roy tells the story The God of Small Things from a distance. The author tells the narrative from each characters’ perspective. Roy describes Estha’s traumatic encounter in a strange indirect manner (49). By representing Estha’s trauma in a strangely indirect fashion, Roy invites the reader to identify with Estha’s trauma. At the beginning the reader cannot remember the traumatic event just like the Estha who has amnesia. However, the similarity between Estha and the reader end here. Though Roy transmits the experience from the character to the reader it does not mean that the reader experiences the same force of trauma. The reader might exhibit symptoms of the trauma while reading the story but the original traumatic experience is in Estha’s conscious not theirs. We however have to applaud Roys choice of style. By distancing herself from the trauma she allows the reader to experience Estha’s trauma first hand and thus the reader is able to identify with Estha. The reader is empathetic of Estha so that in the end when he is involved in an Incestuous act with his sister, the reader cannot but feel bad for him instead of judge him.

  •  How does Mishima create a portal from the narrator’s world into our own?

Mishima tells confessions of a mask from a first person perspective. The narrator in the story is an older version of the Kochan the protagonist. The older version protagonists recounts events in his past. The narrative is mostly based on the now but the narrator presents the past as if it is happening in the present. The narrator’s voice is not invasive. The narrator is presenting his story before the reader as if he wants the reader to judge and understand him. He is still guilty about his sexuality as he was as a young man and comes out as desperate to be understood in the right way by his readers. The narrator takes us through his sickly childhood that kept him from interacting with boys his age and the reason he is not physically gifted (Mishima 36). The reader cannot help but sympathize with the sickly young man. The reader associates with young narrators experiences as they are the experiences every young adolescent goes through.  By using relatable experiences and showing that he tried to like the opposite sex but to no avail, the narrator seek empathy from the reader.

  • How does Roy ask the following question:  what is human need?

She asks the question through her many portrayals of people who have lost love. The novel is about love and the love laws that dictate who should love who “who should be loved, and how. And how much (Roy  84)” In the book, love defy social norms. Ammu falls in love with a man of a lower class and theirs is a forbidden love, Baby Kochamma falls in love with a priest and in the end Estha and Rahel express their sibling love through an incest act. So what is human need? Is it love or conformation to social norms? Roy asks that question by putting the dilemma on whether to side with the character’s abnormal love or societal expectations.

Work Cited

Mishima, Yukio. Confessions of a Mask. Canada: Penguin Books, 1958. Print.

Roy, Arundhati. The God of Small Things. New Delhi: Penguin, 2002. Print.