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Example Questions for The God of Small Things

Please answer two of the following questions. In your answers, you must refer to TWO specific scenes from the reading to support your answer.

1. What role do postmodern themes play in the text? (Which do you see as being most significant? How are they used?)

2. What significant role does Paradise Pickles and Preserves play in the story? (Not just in terms of plot, but in terms of theme or symbol.)

3. To what extent are race, social class, and religion important in this text? What specific elements of each take on predominant importance, and with what consequences?

 How do the concept and the reality of "the Untouchable" function in the novel?

4. Why does Roy switch back and forth among time present and various times past? What effect does she intend this to have on the reader? (Does it work?)

5. Is “time as destroyer” the novel's most insistent theme? How are the blue Plymouth, the pickle factory, Rahel's toy wristwatch (which always reads "ten to two"), and other objects related to this theme?

6.  What is the significance of Velutha’s role in the story?

7. How does Roy portray the twins' extraordinary spiritual connection, their "single Siamese soul," the fragile, wonder-filled world of their childhood, their often magical vision, and their differences? What might be her purpose for creating such a strong connection between the twins? (Is this simply a character trait, or does this connection function thematically?)

8. What importance does Roy ascribe to story, storytelling, and playacting? Why?

9. In what ways are the Kochamma women subjected to male dominance, indifference, and even cruelty, and in what ways are they decisive in their own lives, the life of their family, and the affairs of their community?

10. Roy has said that her architectural studies determined her novel's structure. In what ways can we view the novel's plan and construction as architectural? In what ways is the novel's "architecture" related to the significance of actual buildings in the novel?

11. So far, what would you identify as the most significant key motifs or theme in the story? Which scenes or characters illustrate this theme most clearly?

12. How is the idea of boundaries explored? Who enforces boundaries? Who breaks them? What moral judgments are made? (By the author or by the characters.)

13. What is the significance of the title, The God of Small Things? (Who or what is the God of Small Things?)

14. What function does Pappachi's moth serve in the book?

15. What does the book have to say about the changes to the world brought about by modernity, development and globalization, etc.?

16. What does the author seem to be saying about the nature of history and of memories in The God of Small Things?

17. The God of Small Things is filled with strong images. From variously shaped "Holes in the Universe" to bursting jackfruits to Pappachi's moth, Roy weaves a very sense-ridden story. Identify two strong similes or images used in the book, and discuss *why* they worked so well.

18. Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times praised Roy's "marvelous job of conjuring the anomalous world of childhood, its sense of privilege and frustration, its fragility, innocence and unsentimental wisdom." Do you agree with this? Why/why not?

19. In what way is this a fundamentally political text? What does Roy seem to be criticizing or advocating?

20. Create a detailed character sketch of Ammu, Baby Kochamma, Velutha, Chako, Mammachi, Pappachi, or Margaret. (Be sure to include your thoughts and opinions on the character, not just a literal description.)

21. How do you think Caste affects Rahel and Estha’s outlook on life and people? (If you’d rather, you may discuss Ammu, Chacko, or Baby Kochamma instead of the twins.)

22. What is the significance of  the name “Baby” Kochamma? (Why ‘baby’?)

23. In what way do characters in the text illustrate a crisis of identity? What point do you think Roy is using this pattern to make?