Guide Social and sexual hierarchies: Male-female relationships in Arundhati Roys The God of Small Things

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Simply reserve online and pay at the counter when you collect. Available in shop from just two hours, subject to availability. Your order is now being processed and we have sent a confirmation email to you at. This item can be requested from the shops shown below.

If this item isn't available to be reserved nearby, add the item to your basket instead and select 'Deliver to my local shop' at the checkout, to be able to collect it from there at a later date. Preferred contact method Email Text message. When will my order be ready to collect? Following the initial email, you will be contacted by the shop to confirm that your item is available for collection. In this paper, I would like to analyze the ways and means that a system adopts to depersonalize a woman. A complete appreciation of The God of Small Things requires an awareness of three things -- the roles of 1 the Syrian Christian community, 2 Communism, and 3 the caste system in Kerala.

Kerala stretches miles along the Malabar Coast of India.

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Although it is just 15, square miles in area, its population makes up 3. Kerala is remarkable for having the highest literacy rate The state experiences heavy monsoons during June-September and September-December. Most of its rivers are fed by the monsoons, and it is during this season that Sophie Mole drowns.

Syrian Christians claim the Apostle Thomas as their founder. The term "Syrian" refers to the West Asian origins of the group's ancestors and to their use of Syriac as a liturgical language.


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For centuries, their spoken language has been Malayalam. Syrian Christians have a history that predates European rule. While the Jesuits made only limited alteration to community life in s and 40s, the nineteenth-century British Colonial state played a significant role in undermining Syrian Christian-Hindu connections. The old Catholic-Jacobite division gave way to as many as fourteen competing Episcopal allegiances.

In the novel religious differences appear in the disagreements between Father Mulligan who belongs to the Roman Catholic Church and Reverend Ipe who belongs to the Mar Thoma Church as well as in Baby Kochamma's conversion to Catholicism and her consequent lack of suitors. The socio-political changes brought about by colonial rule led to upper-caste Hindus shunning the Syrian Christians. Between and every one of the main Syrian Christian denominations founded so-called Evangelical Societies that sought out low-caste converts and built schools and chapels and publicized mass baptisms Bayly The God of Small Things thus refers to the school for "Untouchables" built by the great-grandfather of the twins, Estha and Rahel.

However, as Roy points out, even though a number of Paravas and members of other low castes converted to Christianity, they were made to have separate churches and thus continued to be treated as "Untouchables. The Paravas, who speak Malayalam and use the Malayalam script, settled in the Neyyattikera taluk of the Trivandrum district and also in Quilon, Kottayam, and Ernakulam districts.

According to the census, their population in Kerala is 42, Singh The word caste is derived from the Portuguese casta , which means breed, race, or kind. Castes are ranked, named, endogamous groups, and membership in a particular caste comes through birth. According to the Hindu sacred texts of the Rig Veda, there were four main castes and each caste performed a function in sustaining social life.

Brahmins were the priests; Kshatriyas , were warriors and rulers; Vaisyas were landowners and merchants; and Sudras were artisans and servants Federal Research Division According to the code of Manu a marriage between a Brahmin woman and a Sudra man would result in a "Candala," who is described as "the lowest of men" and shares many of the attributes of the contemporary "Untouchable" Moffit Michael Moffit writes that ancient textual sources from the South suggest the existence of similarly ranked human relations and stresses that many attributes of contemporary South Indian "Untouchables" were apparently present years ago in the Sangam period Since Untouchables have been called "scheduled castes.

More recently these group refer to themselves as Dalits , a Hindi word which means oppressed or downtrodden. In many parts of India, land is still held by the upper castes who use the ideology of the caste system to economically exploit low- ranking landless labourers" Study Guide-South Asia Reading Series.

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In , under E. Namboodiripad, Kerala became the first Indian state to elect a communist government.

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Despite a damaging split in the party in , there have been communist-led governments in Kerala more often than not. Roy writes that the reason behind the Communist Party's success in Kerala was that it "never overtly questioned the traditional values of a caste-ridden, extremely traditional community. The Marxists worked from within the communal divides, never challenging them, never appearing not to" This double standard is emphasized when Comrade Pillai incites the workers of Paradise Pickles and Preserves to strike against their owner, Chacko, but refers to the latter in theoretical terms.

He never referred to him by name, but always as 'the Management. Apart from it being tactically the right thing to do, this disjunction between the man and his job helped Comrade Pillai to keep his conscience clear about his own private business dealings with Chacko. His contract for printing the Paradise Pickles labels gave him an income that he badly needed.

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He told himself that Chacko -- the client and Chacko-the Management were two different people. Quite separate of course from Chacko-the-Comrade. Pillai's double standards are also seen when despite his slogans of "caste is class," he deliberately distances himself from Velutha in order to maintain the support of Chacko's other workers who dislike working with a Paravan.

Chacko himself appears to be an armchair Communist with no real understanding of the politics that surround him. Roy's representation of the Communist Party has met with much criticism from the Party. The late E.

Reading The God of Small Things - I

Nayanar, said that Roy had painted a "factually incorrect" picture of the social conditions in Kerala during the period and of the role played by Communists during that period Deccan Herald 7. It is within this social, political and religious context that we read the tragedy of the Koachammans.

Shunned by the upper class Hindus, they are over conscious of their family's prestige. Pointing out the ones that he wanted packed and delivered. For one, this is a police officer who is disrespecting Ammu, someone who is in power and a public figure of society. One would expect a public servant like this to behave with the most respect.

Social and Sexual Hierarchies by Eleni Stefanidou | Waterstones

She has no choice but to accept the treatment that she is given. This is not the only case where a lack of respect is shown to women by a man. The God of Small Things attempts to subvert patriarchic norms that sustain caste and gender domination by its use of subversive comparisons and analogies, ancient hierarchies that sustain the caste and the gender question still remain assertive, unresolved even by the healing and redeeming powers of fiction.

It example comes to the readers via a simple interaction between Comrade Pillai and his wife Latha. It may see simple but I think that this is a great example that shows the variance of respect given and received by the two genders. She had to waive it. She had no choice. It smelled of new cloth and a shop. I find it unfair how Baby Kochamma is so easily coerced into doing something against her will. This in itself shows the belittlement of women. Baby Kochamma is a full grown women yet she is not being treated with the same respect as a man, say Chacko, would be treated.

This quote furthers my argument of the mistreatment of women in a caste society. Baba is an alcoholic and his work is starting to suffer because of it. Even though this is a fictional novel, this kind of sexual use of women is not uncommon in the caste system in India. India is well known for its culture of rape in the past and present. As of rape was the fastest growing crime in India. Not only does Arundhati Roy show the direct mistreatment of women but she also portrays a very patriarchal society that is re-established with each generation. For instance, in a conversation between the twins, and their cousin Sophie Mol.

Change into what? Another example of the patriarchal culture being reinstituted into the next generation is visible in the relationship between Sophie Mole and her mother Margaret Kochamma. In a patriarchal society, physical power is the main tool for maintaining order. In another conversation between the twins and Sophie Mol, Sophie Mol reveals that her mother hits her.

In my opinion, the most chilling event in the novel involved Estha and the drink man at the movie theater. During the movie, Estha goes out alone and meets the orangedrink lemondrink man who invites him behind the counter. Estha was then molested by the man.

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It had egg white on it. White egg white. Quarter boiled. When he was molested , Estha was reduced, and all his masculinity was stolen away from him. As though, in his own way, he was trying to earn his keep He did the sweeping, swabbing and all of the laundry.