The Message of The God of Small Things

Hey there! In this blog, I’m taking a closer look at Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things. All of us got something from reading this remarkable novel—but what was it? Let’s take a deeper dive and find out.

For those who don’t know, The God of Small Things is Roy’s debut novel, published in 1997. It won the Booker Prize that same year. Set in south India, the story follows two fraternal twins, Estha and Rahel, as they navigate childhood while dealing with their family’s secrets and the caste system.

As we explore this captivating story, it becomes clear that Roy has packed it with symbolism, themes, and a powerful message. So let’s dig our heels in and get started on this incredible journey. Hunker down and let’s go!

The God of Small Things, written by Arundhati Roy and first published in 1997, is a remarkable novel that tells the story of the twin siblings Estha and Rahel. Set in India during the turbulent late 1960s and early 1970s, the book follows the twins as they struggle to reconcile the customs of their culture with their own desires and ambitions. The main theme of The God of Small Things is the power of love in the face of oppression. For example, the twins experience a great deal of suppression from the traditional and conservative society they are raised in. But despite this, their bond of unconditional love helps them remain together, even when external forces such as the law try to separate them. Further, the novel’s numerous symbols, such as the river and the pickle factory, reinforce this message about the strength of love. At its core, The God of Small Things is an exploration of how our choices can shape the future. The novel shows how even small decisions, from the seemingly insignificant to the life-altering, can have serious implications on our lives. Through their unflinching determination to make their own choices, Estha and Rahel ultimately triumph over the oppressive society they live in, proving that true love can always find a way.

Theme Analysis

At the heart of Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things, lies the power of love and its ability to overcome oppression. This theme is threaded throughout the narrative in subtle ways, as well as through the more obvious use of symbols.

The novel begins with a metaphor – the narrator declaring that most people have “the capacity to Attend to the Entire Universe, while all the time keeping their feet firmly planted on the ground”. This suggests that even in the face of daunting obstacles, such as class divides, rigid caste systems and families torn apart, we are able to transcend our limitations and find solace in love.

A single lotus flower in a pool of water, framed in a close-up shot.

This idea is exemplified by the Odd Couple – Baby Kochamma and Chacko – who become unlikely allies against society’s judgement and oppressive structures. Despite the tension between them, they ultimately unite together out of a mutual love for Rahel and Estha, the two main characters.

The power of love is also embodied in the symbol of the river, which winds its way through the novel. It acts as a constant reminder of the strength of human connection and how love is able to transcend physical borders and boundaries. The pickle factory and Estha’s name are further symbols used to express this idea – both represent the fragility of life and the importance of love.


Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things is a powerful novel about the power of love in the face of oppression. Throughout the novel, symbols such as the river, the pickle factory, and Estha’s name point to this theme. The river that runs throughout the novel serves as a powerful symbol of life, death, and rebirth. It represents not only a source of sustenance but hope. The characters find solace in its depths, and they are reminded that despite all the pain, life can still bring joy. The pickle factory, which serves as the focal point for much of the novel, is another symbol of oppression. While it offers the promise of economic security, it also serves as a reminder of the mercilessness of capitalism and the power of big business over smaller ones. Finally, Estha’s name is a subtle symbol of his suffering. Estha’s name means “God of Small Things,” hinting at how he has been forced to confront small and seemingly insignificant matters that have had a large impact on his life. Throughout the novel, these symbols serve to show how love finds a way to prevail in even the most oppressive environments. Even in the midst of tragedy and hardship, love can still offer a glimmer of light in the darkness.

The Power of Love and Compassion as a Force for Overcoming Oppression

The main message of The God of Small Things is that love and compassion can be a powerful force for overcoming the oppression of societal norms, laws, and prejudices. Through the narrative of Estha, Rahel, and their family, Roy conveys the idea that even in the dark moments of suffering and despair, hope and strength can be found through love and understanding. By weaving in symbolism throughout the novel, such as her characters’ names, the river, and the pickle factory, Roy ultimately underscores the power of caring and compassion to help one find resilience in even the most difficult of situations.

Throughout the novel, Roy explores how love and affection exist between characters who are divided by social norms, class, gender, and other societal constraints. The twins, Estha and Rahel, have a bond of love and nonverbal understanding that transcends all the boundaries that society has placed upon them. This bond is strengthened through the circumstances that they experience during the novel – both together and apart – and serves as a reminder that even in the face of destruction, love will remain.

By exploring the themes of love and oppression, Roy ultimately tells us that compassion and understanding is a force of resistance against oppressive forces in life. It is a reminder that despite all the barriers and struggles people may face, no matter what we’re faced with, love still prevails.

Wrapping Up

Well, there we have it folks: Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things is a powerful and poignant novel that explores the power of love in the face of oppression. It uses symbolism to tell its story, from the river to Estha’s name, and ultimately communicates the message that even small acts of kindness can make a huge difference in our world. So, take note and remember to appreciate the little things in life – you never know what joy they could bring!

Love & Loss FAQ

What is the conclusion of The God of Small Things?

The main message of The God of Small Things is that love can transcend all boundaries, even in the face of overwhelming adversity. No matter how broken and complex our relationships are, love can break through and bring healing and connection. Despite all the suffering and tragedy in the novel, ultimately it is a story of redemption and hope. The conclusion of The God of Small Things is that love is the most powerful force in the universe, capable of healing the deepest wounds and bringing peace, even in the most dire of circumstances.

It’s easy to forget that, no matter the troubles we encounter in life, there is always room for love and connection. Small acts of kindness and compassion can often have a much greater impact than we might realize. The God of Small Things reminds us that every moment of our lives carries the potential to make a difference, so why not use it?

So, when all is said and done, the main message of The God of Small Things is that, in the end, love is the only thing that truly matters. It’s a simple but profound reminder that we should treasure every moment with our loved ones, and that we should strive to spread love and compassion in everything we do.

Why did Estha and Rahel sleep together?

In The God of Small Things, the main message is that love can be a powerful force, and it can override social norms. In the novel, Estha and Rahel sleep together to seek comfort and solace from a traumatic event. This behavior, though socially unacceptable, is a testament to the strength of their bond and their love for each other as siblings. It also reinforces the idea that familial love should trump any social conventions or expectations.

The novel’s main message is one of resilience: no matter what obstacles one faces, love is a powerful force that can endure. It is not only for a romantic partner but for family members, too. Estha and Rahel’s ability to go against the expectations of their society in order to maintain their bond is an example of strength and courage that many readers can connect with.

It’s important to remember that, while love can be a powerful force, it is not a cure-all solution. Estha and Rahel’s bond ultimately comes with a cost, and the two still have to face the consequences of their actions. Still, the novel’s main message is a hopeful one, emphasizing that love can help people stay resilient in the face of adversity.

What is the irony in The God of Small Things?

I cannot think of a single, all-encompassing message from The God of Small Things. But it does appear to be a story about the importance of embracing and cherishing the small joys and moments in life, rather than overanalyzing them. The irony in The God of Small Things is that the characters all struggle to make a life for themselves, yet are ultimately unable to find the closure they desire, signifying that life is often unpredictable and uncontrollable.

The God of Small Things conveys the idea that oftentimes, the beauty and power of life rests in the details and nuances. What might seem insignificant to us, can often dictate the course of our lives and create powerful change and understanding. This is exemplified through the two main characters, Estha and Rahel, who are struggling to make sense of their past and move on. They come to understand that the joys and sorrows of life, however large or small, can leave a lasting impression.

The irony in The God of Small Things further reinforces this message, demonstrating that the smallness of life and its inherent fragility should not be taken for granted. Despite their best efforts, Estha and Rahel find that some things in life may be out of their control. This serves as a reminder of the power of the unknown, as well as the importance of cherishing the small moments.

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