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Patriarchal love laws: a study of oppression in Arundhati Roy's "The God of Small Things"
2002 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This essay aims to define and explore the different kinds of oppression in Arundhati Roy's novel The God of Small Things. The purpose is to elucidate the different ways in which oppression is portrayed in the text and the main reasons for, as well as the effects of, this oppression on the characters, especially the women, children and the casteless and the lives they lead. It is argued that everything has a reason and that it began long ago, in the days when the "Love Laws" were made, and accordingly that there are traditional, historical reasons behind the strict laws of behaviour affecting the characters in the novel. "Laws that lay down who should be loved, and how. And how much". The God of Small Things is a book about human nature. The oppression portrayed from so many different angles is conveyed by the author as a realization that there are loves and wars like these all over the world. Arundhati Roy says that "since the dawn of time, human society has found ways in which to divide itself, to make war across these divisions, to make love across these divisions." This essay argues that the women, children and "Untouchables" in Roy's novel are all vicitms of oppression. It deals with the different guises in which oppression is shown, and it tries to ascertain why these people oppress each other. Also, it explores in what ways the author has made her readers aware of this and, finally, what effects the oppression has on the characters. In conclusion, it claims that the characters of the novel all carry the burden of being victims of their past, of the traditional, patriarchal culture they live in. They all share the same experience of difficult backgrounds, where they themselves have been oppressed in one way or another. Oppression has become the dark warder of history that keeps them confined and that prevents them from breaking loose. Some of them are transgressors: people who resent old norms and who will not live the suppressed lives that their predecessors have done. These people, such as Ammu, Rahel and Velutha, end up being those who are more hurt, shattered and lonely than anyone else. However, they reach further because they refuse to conform to patriarchy. It is unquestionably these people who represent the hope, the love and the understanding that Roy's novel evokes. In the end they are more free, because they all broke the Laws, echoing the question of who should be loved. And how. And how much.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Social Behaviour Law, Patriarchy, Oppression, Arundhati Roy, The God of Small, Things, Casteless, Kerala, Indian Literature
Keyword [sv]
Samhälls-, beteendevetenskap, juridik
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-43238ISRN: LTU-CUPP--02/062--SELocal ID: 11dc46d4-9fc8-4687-9e2c-38d14048fffcOAI: diva2:1016467
Subject / course
Student thesis, at least 15 credits
Educational program
English, bachelor's level
Validerat; 20101217 (root)Available from: 2016-10-04 Created: 2016-10-04Bibliographically approved

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