The God of Small Things


Arundhati Roy

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The God of Small Things: Chapter 9 Summary & Analysis

In 1993, Rahel explores the abandoned ornamental garden and thinks about how she has no plans or “Locusts Stand I” now. Rahel remembers Sophie Mol telling Chacko that she loved him less than Joe, and Sophie Mol being lonely when the twins left her out. After that Estha and Rahel took Sophie to see Velutha, each of them in makeup and pretending to be ladies, and he made them wooden spoons. The adult Rahel muses on Velutha’s sweetness, how he always went along with the childrens’ fantasies.
We are given only these memories and summaries to fully humanize Sophie Mol and Velutha, as they have few specific scenes before their tragedies strike. Velutha is almost like the narrator, slipping into a kind of “free indirect discourse” when the children are around, seeing the world as they do, finding the fantastic in small things.
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Rahel watches Estha in his room and thinks about the twins’ troubled past, which she thinks of as “the Terror.” She wishes she and Estha could think of themselves as victims, not perpetrators, but she knows there was only one true victim that day: Velutha. Rahel hears the drums announcing a kathakali performance and heads towards the History House. On her way she steps into the abandoned remains of Paradise Pickles, and thinks about how “things can change in a day.”
Roy juxtaposes these scenes of innocence and sweetness with memories of brutality and tragedy to heighten the story’s drama. Once again we ostensibly know the “end” of the story – Velutha becomes an innocent victim – but we don’t know how the plot arrives there. It is ironic that Rahel walks past the pickle factory as she repeats the refrain about change.
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