Our English Classes

A blog for Maribel's students at EOI and CEP Granada

The God of Small Things

Posted by maribel on 05/01/2011


The God of Small Things (1997) is a novel by Indian author Arundhati Roy. It is a story about the childhood experiences of twin siblings Rahel and Estha. All members in their large, diverse, unique, and typical family play a role in shaping the world of the twins, for better and for worse. Each family member’s life is affected by politics, history, and culture clash, and while each person takes a different path through it all, each of their choices influences the family at large. The essential story is one of love but one in which the players become victims of gender,  caste and race divides, but, in the words of Roy, “even though you know that what happened was tragic, the fact that it happened was wonderful.” Roy uses non-linear narrative and a unique language. The humor in the way the point of view of the children is presented gives you a relief from the tragic story.

“To say that it all began when Sophie Mol came to Ayemenem is only one way of looking at it. Equally it could be argued that it actually began thousands of years ago long before the Marxists came, before the British took Malabar, before the Dutch Ascendancy, before da Gama arrived, before the ‘s conquest of Calicut. It could be argued that it began long before Christianity arrived in a boat and seeped into Kerala like tea from a tea bag. But it really began in the days when the Love Laws were made. The laws that lay down who should be loved, and how. And how much.”

Listen, watch and read about this book in the excellent Invitation to World Literature site.

This is a Nerina Pallot‘s song of the same title:

God of all things, God of small things, God of power and might,
Did you really make the world in seven days and seven nights?
‘Cause I don’t know if you exist or if I even care,
But when I lay me down to sleep I’d like somebody there. 

‘Cause it’s hard to make sense of this all, and it gets harder with each passing day.
I believe in little things, and things I cannot see;
In science and the saints and all that stuff like gravity,
Not that sentimental fairytale to keep us in our place.
‘Cause I have seen you here when no-one else is looking –
A calm and silent bliss, a calm and silent bliss.

All your people do these days is argue, fuss and fight,
Then they fuss some more and wipe the blood and say, “At least we know we’re right”.
How foolishly, how foolishly your good things come undone,
How silently, how silently, and now we all are done.

And it’s hard to make sense of it all, and it gets harder with each passing day.
But I believe in little things, and things I cannot see;
In science and the saints and all that stuff like gravity,
Not some sentimental fairytale to keep us in our place.
‘Cause I have seen you here when no-one else is watching –
A strange and silent bliss, a strange and silent bliss.

God of all things, God of small things, God of loss and hope,
God of people struggling, of people who can’t cope,
Do you keep your blessings for the rich, the pious and their guns?
Or if you’re half the man, I hope you root for everyone,
You root for everyone.

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