Gender discrimination and child abuse in Arundhati Roy’s the god of small things
Arundhati Roy, a Booker Prize winner for her first novel The God of Small Things, has occupied a place among the contemporary literary prominent figures like Salman Rushdie, Bharti Mukherjee, V.S.Naipaul, Amitav Ghosh, Vikram Seth and Rohinton Mistry. Roy as a social activist and reformer depicts our degenerated present – a reflection of our political corruption, Dalit subjugation and complexity of women’s situation, hollow promises and fractured vision. Roy has profound social concerns and she depicts this crude reality with extraordinary linguistic inventiveness. This paper examines Roy as a novelist who analyses the most problematic contemporary issues of Indian middle class life sex, exploitation, violence, caste- politics, power- politics, hollow conventions and rituals. She shows how the patriarchal system of marriage unleashes a reign of terror, misery and violence palpable in Pappachi’s wrath beating Mammachi with a vase. Mammachi, Baby Kochamma, Ammu are oppressed by patriarchy. There is Chacko, a self- proclaimed Marxist, who flirts with the women working in the factory. Estha and Rahel are unwelcomed guests at Ayemenem. Rahel grows up to be a disillusioned adult. The shameful experience with the Orangedrink Lemondrink man at Abhilash Talkies adds to Estha’s bewilderment. A sense of guilt keeps haunting him and he prepares his mind by thinking “Anything can happen to anyone …’’. Roy appropriately delineates the child’s bewilderment at the hands of his own mother, his maternal uncle, baby Kochamma, Kochu Maria, the Orangedrink Lemondrink Man, the Kottayam police and so on. Along with gender-oppression, Arundhati Roy has succeeded in raising the issues of child-abuse and child-negligence.the novel deals with touching and challenging political, social, cultural and personal issues.