Study Guide

The God of Small Things Chapter 19

By Arundhati Roy

Chapter 19

Saving Ammu

  • The twins are at the police station. Inspector Thomas Mathew gets them two Coca-Colas. Rahel giggles. Estha feels fearful.
  • Inspector Thomas Mathew sends for Baby Kochamma. She asks if everything is OK. He says nothing is.
  • Turns out Estha and Rahel have told the Inspector that they left home on their own. He says there is no case against Velutha.
  • Inspector Thomas Mathew tells Baby Kochamma that either Ammu has to say that Velutha tried to rape her, or the kids have to say that Velutha kidnapped them. Otherwise he has to charge Baby Kochamma with filing a false statement.
  • Baby Kochamma asks to have five minutes alone with the twins.
  • They are scared.
  • Baby Kochamma tells Estha and Rahel that they are murderers, responsible for Sophie Mol's death.
  • Baby Kochamma tells them they'll have to go to jail – and so will Ammu. They'll be in three different jails. She makes up vivid details about prison life and tells them Ammu probably won't survive, and if she does she'll be sick and old by the time she gets out.
  • Baby Kochamma says that Velutha is going to die anyway, so they have to go along with what she says so they can at least save Ammu. When the Inspector asks a question, all they have to do is say "yes."
  • Baby Kochamma asks them which they'd rather do – save Ammu or send her to jail? The twins reply "Save Ammu."
  • When the Inspector comes back, he says he only needs to hear from one of the twins. Baby Kochamma sends Estha, knowing he's more practical than Rahel.
  • Inspector Thomas Mathew takes Estha to see Velutha. Blood is spilling out of his head. The inspector asks his question, Estha says yes, and at that moment "childhood tiptoed out. Silence slid in like a bolt" (19.82-83).
  • On their way back home, Estha tells Rahel that she was right – it wasn't Velutha; it was Urumban. She figures Velutha has escaped to Africa.
  • We find out that Velutha doesn't live through the night. When Ammu goes to the police station to clear everything up, Velutha's body has already been dumped.
  • Baby Kochamma freaks out when she hears that Ammu has gone to the police. She realizes she has to get Ammu out of Ayemenem as quickly as she can. She turns Chacko against Ammu. It's her idea to send Ammu away and to Return Estha.