The God of Small Things

The God of Small Things Chapter 11 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Meanwhile Ammu is still napping, and she dreams about a beautiful one-armed man who can only do one small thing at a time. Wherever she touches him she leaves goosebumps on his skin. She imagines people watching them, and the twins hovering over her. Ammu thinks of the man as the “God of Small Things,” and wonders who he is.
This figure is clearly Velutha, whom Ammu had been admiring moments before. In this dream Roy connects Velutha’s forbidden love with the theme of “small things.” He can only do one thing at a time in loving Ammu, just as stories and history only consist of one small moment after another.
Themes
Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
Small Things Theme Icon
In real life the twins are actually standing over the sleeping Ammu, worried that she is having a nightmare and trying to wake her up by making loud noises. Finally Ammu wakes up and says she was happy in the dream. Estha asks her if happiness in a dream “counts.”
Estha’s question is important, a childlike, innocent way of asking whether emotions felt in dreams or fantasies count as emotions in real life. To Roy the answer is yes, as many of the truths of her story are revealed by a childlike imagination.
Themes
Family and Social Obligation Theme Icon
Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
Small Things Theme Icon
Ammu turns on the radio and it is playing a song about star-crossed lovers lost at sea. She notices that the twins are covered with sawdust, and she warns them about going to Velutha’s house, but she doesn’t say his name. Somehow this makes a sort of pact between the three of them, with the twins as “midwives” of her dream. Ammu knows then that the God of Small Things is Velutha.
Just as Velutha did, Ammu now seems to recognize her inevitable fate and doomed love. As the twins hovered over her in her dream and loved Velutha before she did, they seem as co-conspirators in Ammu’s taboo desires. Because of this they will also share in her punishment.
Themes
Family and Social Obligation Theme Icon
Indian Politics, Society, and Class Theme Icon
Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
Estha and Rahel start to climb all over Ammu’s body and kiss her, trying to bring her back from the dream-world. Ammu eventually gets up and looks at herself in the bathroom mirror. She examines her body and thinks about what the future holds for her, the dreadful monotony of a disgraced, man-less woman in Ayemenem.
In this moment of self-reflection, Ammu seems to recognize that her wilder, fiercer self will eventually rebel against the monotonous aging of a woman like Baby Kochamma. The bleakness of her future seems to justify a forbidden relationship with Velutha.
Themes
Indian Politics, Society, and Class Theme Icon
Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
Change vs. Preservation Theme Icon
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While Ammu is in the bathroom, the narrator elaborates on the bedroom (where Estha and Rahel still are), which Ammu would later be locked into until Chacko broke down the door and kicked her out of the house. The narrator muses on the small things in that scene – Ammu hemming a ribbon, wood splintering around her. It is also the same bedroom where Ammu would pack up Estha’s things before “returning” him.
In the story, the rooms of the Ayemenem House become places like the History House, where various moments are preserved forever. The narrator looks forward and backward at once, and so sees all the seemingly fragmentary events that happened in that one room come together to form a narrative.
Themes
Change vs. Preservation Theme Icon
Small Things Theme Icon