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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