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Analysis

Three-Act Plot Analysis

For a three-act plot analysis, put on your screenwriter’s hat. Moviemakers know the formula well: at the end of Act One, the main character is drawn in completely to a conflict. During Act Two, she is farthest away from her goals. At the end of Act Three, the story is resolved.

Note: Here we present the events of the novel in chronological order – not the order in which we read them.

Act I

The family goes to Cochin to pick up Margaret Kochamma and Sophie Mol from the airport. On the way, Estha is molested, Rahel wonders whether her mother still loves her, and we see Velutha marching with communists.

Act II

Everything explodes around the same time: Vellya Paapen reveals that Velutha and Ammu are having an affair, and Sophie Mol drowns in the river.

Act III

Estha is Returned; Ammu gets sick and eventually dies; and Rahel bounces around aimlessly until she is reunited with Estha at the age of 31.

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