The God of Small Things
Research papers on Arundhati Roy’s first novel, The God of Small Things, illustrates the sense of India itself (or at least an impression of India that has been garnered from one who has never been there): sweeping, chaotic, complex, mundane, brilliant and confusing. The God of Small Things is all of these and more, a challenging novel that seems to tell a million tales in trying to tell one.
Much like Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury or As I Lay Dying, The God of Small Things is often told from different perspectives. And like Faulkner, this technique is challenging. It is often difficult to tell what is going on where and with whom, as Roy’s novel jumps from past to present and from scene to scene. This attention to detail threatens to bog the novel down in a series of literary exercises, forcing the reader to plow through many parts of the work in order to see all the threads come together in the end. Any examination of a story as richly textured as the one presented in The God of Small Things must first proceed with at least a cursory examination of the superficial workings of the story. One must understand the logistical details of who, what, when, and where before why can even begin to be addressed. The plot in Small Things is as circuitous and twisting as the Meenachal river so central to the story. Roy manipulates plot structure in order to focus attention away from the logistics of the story.