Date of Award

Spring 2004

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




At the heart of Arundhati Roy's remarkably popular and critically favored novel The God o Small Things is a love story, which begins with a forbidden glance. Ammu, divorced mother of two, outcast daughter of a solidly Anglophilic South Indian bourgeois family, gazes upon the "[c]ontoured and hard," highly "[p]olished" body of Velutha, Paravan carpenter, Untouchable family servant (Roy 167). And Velutha looks back. A small thing, the small thing of the novel's title even, but an occurrence that unravels a family, results in a savage beating, multiple deaths, and a lingering malaise. This novel demands that we ask how such a small thing could come to mean so much, and answering that question, along with unearthing the notion of history that saddles such an occurrence with such heavy symbolic freight, is the goal of this essay.