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The God of Small Things

The God of Small Things

by Arundhati Roy

Society and Class Theme

The characters in The God of Small Things are constantly coming up against the forces of society and class. Indian society was structured for centuries according to very rigid social classes and boundaries, through what is known as the caste system. Even though the novel takes place after the caste system stopped being a legal social policy, its characters still find themselves limited by what is and isn't deemed socially acceptable for them. Social rules dictate who can love whom, which occupations people can adopt, and who is considered to be better than whom. (Sounds a little like an extreme version of high school, doesn't it?)

Questions About Society and Class

  1. Why does Ammu seem to dislike Margaret Kochamma and Sophie Mol, while everyone else fawns over them?
  2. Why do you think Chacko tells the twins that liking The Sound of Music is an example of their Anglophilia? In what ways do they put themselves down by putting the Von Trapps on a pedestal?
  3. Why does Ammu tell Rahel that she doesn't want the twins to spend so much time with Velutha?
  4. Why do you think Baby Kochamma tries so hard to impress Margaret Kochamma and Sophie Mol with her knowledge of Shakespeare?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The characters of The God of Small Things are ultimately constrained and held back by class boundaries.

In the end, the characters of The God of Small Things show us that class boundaries are breakable.

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