One of the main themes in Arundhati Roy's A God Of Small Things is discrimination in the caste system. Roy tells the story of the hardships faced by the Untouchables, the lowest caste in the caste system. Technically, the Untouchables are not even in the caste system because to put them in the same system as the other four castes would be offensive to the rest of them. Another theme in this novel is forbidden love. These two themes, discrimination in the caste system and forbidden love, come together when Mammachi sneaks across the river "to love by night the man her children love by day", to meet Velutha. Mammachi is the mother of the two main characters, Estha and Rahel. She is a Touchable Christian woman and Velutha is an Untouchable Paravan. Mammachi tells her children about how Paravans were treated when she was young:
"Mammachi told Estha and Rahel that she could remember a time, in her girlhood, when Paravans were expected to crawl backwards with a broom, sweeping away their footprints so that Brahmins(highest caste in the Hindu caste system) or Syrian Christians would not defile themselves by accidentally stepping into a Paravan's footprint."(Roy 71)
Mammachi is fully aware of the magnitude of what she has done. The union of Mammachi and Velutha, Touchable and Untouchable is unthinkable. Mammachi defies what Arundhati Roy calls the "Love Laws" that are set by society. The "Love Laws" determine who can be loved, where and when they can be loved and how much they can be loved. When Mammachi and Velutha’s secret forbidden love was discovered, chaos ensued. Baby Kochamma, the twins’ grandaunt went to the police station and filed a report stating that Mammachi had been raped Velutha, by an U...
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...a Touchable woman. Nobody even questioned the report because it made sense to them. When they thought of Velutha, the community in Ayemenem did not think of a bright, young man who was always there to help them, making and fixing whatever they asked him to. No, all they could think of was he had been an Untouchable. He must have raped that Touchable woman. Velutha was simply a lowly person doing lowly deeds. Upon receiving the false report from Baby Kochamma, the police went out to search for Velutha. When they found him, he was not even given a chance to speak. The police beat Velutha to near-death, an innocent man nearly killed yet no questions asked. Sure enough, that night Velutha died and no justice was served. This is the depressing but unfortunate truth of the world and I can be grateful that I was born in Canada where I have all the opportunities I could want.
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