© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.


Quote #1

Rahel had come to see her brother, Estha. They were two-egg twins. "Dizygotic" doctors called them. Born from separate but simultaneously fertilized eggs. Estha – Esthappen – was the older by eighteen minutes. (1.6)

From the second we meet Estha – in the first pages of the book – we know him as Rahel's twin. Their "twin-ness" isn't just important to the other characters; it shapes the way we perceive them from the very beginning of the novel.

Quote #2

Chacko was Mammachi's only son. Her own grief grieved her. His devastated her. (1.31)

What's key in this quote is the link between Mammachi's reaction to Chacko's grief and the fact that he's her only son. Chacko seems to be up on quite the pedestal. Do you think Mammachi would care about Ammu's feelings in the same way?

Quote #3

"Maybe they're right," Ammu's whisper said. "Maybe a boy does need a Baba." (1.197)

Just as the relationships between the family members we do see matter in this book, the absence of others is also important. Here we see that other people have been telling Ammu that it's not enough for her to play the parts of both mom and dad to Estha. Even she is starting to doubt that she's done a sufficient job.

back to top