The IUP Journal of English Studies
The God of Small Things Versus the Devil of Big Things: Narrative Technique and Arundhati Roy

Article Details
Pub. Date : June, 2021
Product Name : The IUP Journal of English Studies
Product Type : Article
Product Code : IJES40621
Author Name : Maninder Kapoor
Availability : YES
Subject/Domain : Arts & Humanities
Download Format : PDF Format
No. of Pages : 10

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Abstract

As an astute muckraker, Arundhati Roy uses the narrative technique of "inversion" to express her concern for all categories of the marginalized, be they women, children, factory workers, or paravans. In true muckraking tradition, her novel touches upon a plethora of social evils-political and social hypocrisies, patriarchal property rights, ill-treatment of divorced women, caste issues, wife-battering, and so on. A strong sense of grievance lends an angry color to her work. Roy's The God of Small Things as a specimen of women's writing displays an obsessive urge to articulate anger through the technique of "inversion," in turn made possible through the novel's constantly changing perspective and its nonlinear progression. "Inversion" accounts for the undertone of irony that runs through the novel. It colors the title, the ordering of each individual chapter, as well as the controversial end. "Inversion" ensures the effectiveness of the title in foregrounding the "small things" as the central preoccupation of the novel. It also works cleverly to expose the contrast between the apparent and the real and thus upset reader expectations. It also determines the ordering of the events that constitute the novel's diegesis. The technique of inversion allows the event of the punishment to precede the so-called crime. The crime is relegated to the end, and ironically makes possible the inversion of a happy ending to a sad story.


Introduction

Deeply conscious of the enormous chasm between the powerful and the powerless, Arundhati Roy has evolved over the years as the most outspoken spokeswoman for the dispossessed of the country, be they the Ammus or the Veluthas. In her own words, "The theme of much of what I write, fiction as well as nonfiction, is the relationship between power and powerlessness and the endless circular conflict they are engaged in" (Roy 2004). As an accomplished muckraker, she uses the narrative technique of The God of Small Things as a deliberate tool that enables and empowers her to hammer a protest, to voice her dissent against society, tradition, religion, history, nation, and the establishment. As she puts it, the only thing worth globalizing is dissent (Barasamian 2001). Mullaney (2002) rightly records Roy as having become "a byword for protest . . .


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