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The God of Small Things
by Arundhati Roy
The God of Small Things Chapter 21 Summary
The Cost of Living It's nighttime. Ammu goes out onto the veranda and listens to the Rolling Stones on her radio. She is especially affected by the lyrics about realizing your dreams before it's too late. Ammu starts walking through the darkness down to the river. We learn that earlier that afternoon (the afternoon of Sophie Mol's arrival), Velutha had realized that he loved Ammu. Ammu had expected that somehow Velutha would have anticipated her arrival, and she's sad not to see him. But Velutha is there, floating on his back in the river. He's totally overcome when he sees her. Ammu is sitting with her head buried in her arms. The narrator asks us, would Velutha have done what he did next if he knew it would lead to his own destruction? Velutha swims over to Ammu. They look at each other. His heart beats like crazy. Ammu puts her arms around Velutha. Then she takes her shirt off. She starts kissing him. He starts kissing her back. They lie down on the ground and make love. Velutha is frightened by what he's done. He knows this isn't a one-time thing. Ammu gets up and leaves. For the next two weeks they meet. When they talk, they stick to the "Small Things" because they know there's no future for them in the long term. Every night they check on a little spider they name Chappu Thamburan: Lord Rubbish. We find out that the spider will outlive Velutha. When Ammu leaves Velutha, she says "Naaley," which means "tomorrow" (21.81-82).
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