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The God of Small Things

The God of Small Things

by Arundhati Roy

Memory and the Past Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

Now, all these years later, Rahel has a memory of waking up one night giggling at Estha's funny dream.

She has other memories too that she has no right to have.

She remembers, for instance (though she hadn't been there), what the Orangedrink Lemondrink Man did to Estha in Abhilash Talkies. She remembers the taste of the tomato sandwiches – Estha's sandwiches, that Estha ate – on the Madras Mail to Madras. (1.10-12)

Rahel's ability to remember things that happened to Estha and not her tells us a lot about their joint identity and how profoundly she understands him.

Quote #2

It is curious how sometimes the memory of death lives on for so much longer than the memory of the life that it purloined. Over the years, as the memory of Sophie Mol [...] slowly faded, the Loss of Sophie Mol grew robust and alive. (1.98)

When you think about it, it makes sense that the memory of Sophie Mol's death should be sharper than the memory of her life. Her death is a traumatic experience for the twins and their whole family – nearly impossible to forget. The circumstances surrounding it change everyone's lives forever, splitting apart Estha and Rahel's family. These major experiences overshadow any little actions or quips from Sophie Mol during her short life. We experience this as readers, too – scenes with Sophie Mol are few and far between, but her death is always coming up.

Quote #3

Earlier that year, Margaret Kochamma's second husband, Joe, had been killed in a car accident. When Chacko heard about the accident he invited them to Ayemenem. He said that he couldn't bear to think of them spending a lonely, desolate Christmas in England. In a house full of memories. (2.4)

Here we see the painful side of memory. Chacko imagines that Margaret and Sophie's life in England is full of memories of Joe, of what they've lost. Memory, in this case, is something to escape from.

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