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In The God of Small Things Arundhati Roy notifies the reader that her novel makes people upset because the way I see the world does not allow people to let themselves off the hook, it leaves little space for pleading innocence.

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Introduction

Laura Pandiani Professor Lang 4/7/2012 Paper Three Belonging to Neither Culture In The God of Small Things Arundhati Roy notifies the reader that her novel makes people upset "because the way I see the world does not allow people to let themselves off the hook, it leaves little space for pleading innocence. And it's uncomfortable to face the fact that all of us are complicit in what's going on-victims as well as perpetrators" (Roy 330). The novel centers around the Ipe family and the main characters, Estha and Rahel's grandaunt, Baby Kochamma. She is a persistent, manipulative, and bitter Indian woman who lives in a town in India called Ayemenem. Baby Kochamma is important to show Roy's idea of being a "victim" of her Indian culture as well as "perpetrator" of the British culture. Baby Kochamma doesn't openly admit the fact that she is "complicit" about being caught between cultures but her actions reveal how she belong finds herself belonging to neither culture. Baby Kochamma has a double consciousness of being a victim of her Indian culture but also a perpetrator of gaining the British culture. This double consciousness Tyson defines as "a consciousness or a way of perceiving the world that is divided between two antagonistic cultures" (Tyson 421). ...read more.

Middle

When Margaret Kochamma, Baby Kochamma's nephew's ex-wife and her daughter Sophie Mol come to visit from England, Baby Kochamma tries to show off to Sophie Mol and Margaret her expertise on Shakespeare's The Tempest. Rahel notices that Baby Kochamma starts speaking in a "strange new British accent" (137) along with trying to show off her knowledge of Shakespeare and all things British. Baby Kochamma tells Sophie Mol she "was so beautiful that she reminded her of a wood-sprite. Of Ariel." (138). Before Sophie Mol can even answer Baby Kochamma jumps on her and repeats "'D'you know who Ariel was? Ariel in The Tempest?'" (137). Already before Sophie can even speak Baby Kochamma is displaying her knowledge of this novel and the spirit Ariel in it by putting them down, as to be shocked they do not understand her. Sophie Mol repeats over and over she doesn't know this reference but Baby Kochamma is persistent again with hoping to gain their culture and repeats "Shakespeare's the Tempest?" (137). It is clear by that now Sophie Mol has no clue what Baby Kochamma is saying and Baby Kochamma is purposely doing this to show she knows of this British works. Again Baby Kochamma is rejected by Sophie Mol and her culture, by Sophie Mol not understanding her reference to Ariel. ...read more.

Conclusion

Rahel notices her beginning to wear makeup but "her lipstick mouth had shifted slightly off her real mouth," (22) revealing it's too late in life for her to change anything, especially to make cultural changes. Rahel then acknowledges Baby Kochamma is "living her life backwards," (23) because wearing this make-up and watching television is something others usually begin their life with. If Baby Kochamma was able get through her double consciousness earlier in life when she wasn't alone she would have been living her life the way she wanted, not being struck between cultures. Baby Kochamma is left late in life with the luxury of her television and a sense of belonging to some part of a culture unlike earlier in life, in which her double consciousness frequently left her not belonging to her own culture or to the British culture. Although she is able to gain belonging, Baby Kochamma still finds herself as Tyson describes "arrested in a psychological limbo" (Tyson 421). This mental doubt is left because she is still uncertain about belonging to these cultures when there is no one in her life to experience it with. Baby Kochamma's personality is intended to advise the reader how "double consciousness...persist in decolonized nations today" (Tyson 422). She is a miserable character throughout the novel but is helpful in the novel to show how one can be a victim of their culture as well as a perpetrator of another, even in today's society. ...read more.

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