The God of Small Things Chapters

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The God of Small Things Chapters

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

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Chapter one-Paradise Pickles and Preserves

The novel opens of a description of Ayemenem

Rahel returns home to Ayemenem to see her twin brother, Estha. Still living in the same house is her grandaunt, Baby Kochamama

The narrative turns to the funeral of Sophie Mol.

We next learn about Baby Kochamma, how she became infatuated with Father Mulligan. 

Rahel looks out on her grandmother's old pickle factory, Paradise Pickles & Preserves.

She considers how this event encapsulates her family's way of life.In particular, she thinks about the mystery and uncomfortable atmosphere surrounding Estha's being sent away from Ayemenem. 

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Chapter two-Pappachi's Moth

The scene opens in December 1969. Rahel's and Estha's grandmother, Mammachi, is driving Rahel and Estha to Cochin for a vacation with Sophie Mol and Margaret Kochamma.

Ammu, now twenty-seven, considers that it was a mistake to have married Babu. She met him at the age of eighteen while at a friend's wedding reception in Calcutta.

We next learn about Mammachi. When Pappachi was alive, she started her pickle business without his help. 

Pappachi's biggest regret was that the moth he discovered was not named after him. It flew into his drink one day and, when he noticed its unusual appearance, he took it to the Pusa Institute.

twelve years later, it was classified as a separate species, but Pappachi received no acknowledgment as its discoverer. After that, Pappachi became increasingly unpleasant and temperamental until he died of a heart attack.

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Chapter three-Big Man the Laltain, Small Man the-


Baby Kochamma and Kochu Maria have let the house in Ayemenem become very dirty and unkempt.

There was an old coolie who used to meet Estha's school trip party at the train platform and carry their luggage. He would say: "Big Man the Laltain, Small Man the Mombatti," meaning: "Big Man the Lantern, Small Man the Tallow-Stick."

Back in the present, a drenched Estha arrives at the door of the house, and Rahel follows him into Ammu's old room.

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Chapter four - Abhilash Talkies

Estha is abused by the 'Orangedrink LemonDrink man' after he sings to loudly in the cinema. 

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Chapter five - God's Own Country

The scene opens with a focus on the river, which has a history of its own. People over the generations bathe in, ride on, and defecate in it. It is unfit for swimming and has a nasty smell, but the people who own the nearby hotel tout the area as "God's Own Country." At the hotel, history is twisted and abbreviated. 

 Rahel remembers the moment when Lenin became real for her and Estha. They were in the waiting room of a doctor's office, Rahel and Lenin both with foreign objects lodged in their noses. Afraid of the doctor, Rahel tried one last time to blow the glass bead out of her nose--and succeeded. Meanwhile, Lenin had to wait for the doctor to remove the object from his nose.

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Chapter six - Cochin Kangaroos

At the airport, the family is dressed in new, special clothing for Sophie's arrival. They hold welcome signs, and Ammu reminds the twins that they are ambassadors of India insofar as Sophie Mol is concerned. Sophie Mol and Margaret Kochamma arrive.

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Chapter seven - Wisdom Exercise Notebooks

Ammu died at the age of thirty-one while out of town for a job interview. The church refused to bury her, so she was cremated. 

Back in the present, Rahel notices that Estha has left the doorway. She walks onto the veranda, where she sees him disappearing on another walk. She considers the fact that she is standing in the same spot where "Welcome home, Our Sophie Mol" was performed.

The chapter ends with the assertion that "Things can change in a day."

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Chapter eight- Welcome Home, Our Sophie Mol

Sophie Mol is greeted at the house by a crowd and a nervous, excited air. Everyone is showing excellent behavior, pretending that they live cheery, entertaining lives. As Roy puts it, "And once again, only the Small Things were said.

The Big Things lurked unsaid inside." Ammu watches as Rahel leaves the festivities to greet Velutha

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Chapter nine - Mrs. Pillai, Mrs. Eapen, Mrs. Rajag

The adult Rahel observes toads near the house in Ayemenem. She remembers a day when she and Estha took Sophie Mol to visit Velutha. 

Rahel wanders to the abandoned pickle factory. She thinks of how on the day Sophie Mol arrived, Estha thought his Two Thoughts and hid a secret in a pickle jar. The chapter closes on the refrain: "Things can change in a day."

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Chapter ten - The River in the Boat

While the crowd celebrates Sophie Mol's arrival, Estha is by himself in the pickle factory. He stirs the illegal banana jam while thinking his Two Thoughts, to which Roy has previously alluded.

The first is that "Anything can happen to anyone," and the second is that "It's best to be prepared." Estha is becoming lost in macabre thoughts, including his continuing fear of the Orangedrink Lemondrink Man

When Estha and Rahel try to launch the boat, they sink into the river with it. They wash the boat and bring it ashore, then plant a Communist flag in the ground. 

He promises to fix the boat for them. Having seen the Communist flag, Velutha tells Kuttappen he knows the twins saw him marching. 

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Chapter eleven - The God of Small Things

In the dream, the presence of others prevents this from happening. Ammu and the one-armed man swim together in a treacherous sea, not touching. 

From the adult Rahel's perspective, later, Rahel thinks about the family's dissolution. The scene switches back to Rahel watching fondly as Estha bathes silently in the moonlight.

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Chapter twelve - Kochu Thomban

Rahel enters a temple, where she approaches the sleeping elephant, Kochu Thomban.

Rahel watches traditional kathkali dancers act out a play.

The novel's narrator explains (as has already been suggested) that the traditional, treasured art of kathkali has been cheapened since it was assimilated into the business of entertaining tourists.

We learn that it was Comrade Pillai who introduced Estha and Rahel to kathkali, along with his own son, Lenin. At that moment, Comrade Pillai walks into the temple. He says, "You are here! So still you are interested in your Indian culture? Goodgood. Very good." 

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Chapter thirteen - The Pessimist and the Optimist

We turn to the story of Chacko and Margaret Kochamma.

A new sub-chapter begins. We finally hear the story of Sophie Mol's death. The morning Sophie's body was found floating in the river, she and the twins had not shown up for breakfast.

The previous afternoon, it was raining nonstop, and Vellya Pappen arrived at the house drunk. When Mammachi finally let him in, he began to blabber about how grateful he was to her family. Then he told Mammachi that Ammu and Velutha,

The narrative shifts to a fisherman finding Sophie Mol's body in the river. Then it shifts to the police station, where Baby Kochamma recounted the discovery of Ammu and Velutha's affair to an officer. 

 We learn that "Sophie Mol became a Memory, while The Loss of Sophie Mol grew robust and alive. Like a fruit in season. Every season."

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Chapter fourteen- Work is Struggle

After Sophie watches him leave the house, Chacko pays a visit to Comrade Pillai's house. Over the latter's doorway hangs a proclamation: "Work is struggle. Struggle is work." 

Eventually, Paradise Pickles & Preserves folded.

Another new sub-chapter begins. Mammachi summons Velutha to her house. As soon as he arrives, she lays into him with yelling and insults. She banishes him from her property and says that if she ever finds him there, she will have him killed.

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Chapter fifteen - The Crossing

It is after midnight. Velutha strips naked and swims across the river to the History House, completely undetected and undetectable. He is sad and beautiful in the moonlight as he moves deliberately but unconsciously.

Again Roy refers to him as "The God of Loss" and "The God of Small Things."

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Chapter sixteen- A Few Hours Later

We find Estha, Rahel, and Sophie setting out on the river in their boat.

Sophie has convinced the twins that she must run away with them to make the adults even more upset.

They row for a little while and then bump into a log and capsize. Rahel and Estha emerge on the shore without Sophie. 

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Chapter seventeen- Cochin Harbor Terminus

Estha remembers the last time he saw Ammu before he left for Assam. We learn that Velutha was arrested after Sophie Mol's death and was charged with kidnapping and murder.

After that, Comrade Pillai led a Communist siege of the pickle factory, claiming that Velutha was being persecuted for his party affiliation.

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Chapter eighteen - The History House

Back on the day of Sophie Mol's death, policemen cross the river looking for clues. They trudge amidst small creatures and the beauty of nature.

They come upon the History House, on which veranda Estha, Rahel and Velutha are sleeping. They beat Velutha savagely, to the children's horror.

The policemen have no sense of Velutha as a fellow human being, because he is an Untouchable.

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Chapter nineteen - Saving Ammu

Inspector Thomas Mathew takes Estha in to identify Velutha. He is naked and near death.

Roy tells us that "blood spilled from his skull like a secret." Estha does as Baby Kochamma told him and identifies Velutha as the man who abducted the children. All he knows is that he answers "yes" to the policeman's question.

Velutha dies that night.

In fear of her dishonesty being exposed, Baby Kochamma coerces Chacko into forcefully evicting Ammu from the house and sending Estha away to live with Babu.

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Chapter twenty - The Madras Mail

Estha sits on the train carrying him away from Ayemenem. The woman sitting next to him offers him sweets and makes him an example for her children since he speaks such good English.

We learn that only as adults do the children understand Ammu's role in Velutha's death. 

Estha himself bears the weight of having killed Ammu, since out of fear he said he would never see her again.

As we know, both the twins bear the weight of Sophie's death well into adulthood.

A new sub-chapter begins. We are back in the present. The adult Rahel calls Estha by his fond childhood name, "Esthapappychachen Kuttapen Peter Mon." He traces her mouth with his fingers, and then they lie holding each other on the bed.

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Chapter twenty one- The Cost of Living

After everyone is asleep, Ammu listens to her radio on the veranda. She runs to the riverbank sobbing, hoping that Velutha will meet her there. He does not come; he is floating in the river, stargazing.

He too is disappointed, having been so sure that Ammu would meet him on this night. Suddenly he sees her and swims over to where she sits.

They embrace, and Ammu kisses him. They make love there on the riverbank. The experience is profound and somehow removed from time, even though it is the catalyst for the events leading up to Velutha's own violent death.

During all of their clandestine meetings after that, Ammu and Velutha focus on the "Small Things," 

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