| Quote #1
"It's a little too late for all of this, don't you think?" he said. He spoke the coarse Kottayam dialect of Malayalam. He stared at Ammu's breasts as he spoke. He said the police knew all they needed to know and that the Kottayam Police didn't take statements from veshyas or their illegitimate children. Ammu said she'd see about that. Inspector Thomas Mathew came around his desk and approached Ammu with his baton.
Thomas Matthew sexually harasses Ammu by tapping her breasts, showing that since he's a man, he's automatically more powerful than she is. Then he shows her what kind of woman he thinks she is by bringing up her "illegitimate" children. Talk about a nasty interaction.
| Quote #2
Looking back now, to Rahel it seemed as though this difficulty that their family had with classification ran much deeper than the jam-jelly question.
Classification – figuring out where things and people belong and how they should be labeled – is a big deal in this book. The society Rahel and Estha live in is divided by extremely rigid class lines that not only dictate how "good" someone is but also whom they can associate with and even love. We find out early on in the novel, however, that Rahel, Estha, and Ammu – along with almost everyone else – will violate those rules.
| Quote #3
That whole week Baby Kochamma eavesdropped relentlessly on the twins' private conversations, and whenever she caught them speaking in Malayalam, she levied a small fine which was deducted at source. From their pocket money. She made them write lines – "impositions" she called them – I will always speak in English, I will always speak in English. A hundred times each. (2.7)
Baby Kochamma finds everything British – the language, the culture – inherently superior. Here, she punishes the twins for speaking their own language instead of English. Think about how this must contribute to the twins' fear that Sophie Mol is somehow better than them because she is only half-Indian and lives in England.