The Oppression of Colonized India Illustrated in Arundhati Roy’s Novel The God of Small Things

The Oppression of Colonized India Illustrated in Arundhati Roy’s Novel The God of Small Things

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The post colonial experience has made the goal of harmonious family relationships that much more difficult, due to the families fragmenting throughout the old country and immigration to the land of the colonizer. Children and adult children alike lose perspective on their homeland and the struggles within their homeland. They become awe-struck by the development of the colonizers land, and as a result become confused with where their loyalties should lie. In Arundhati Roy’s novel “The God of Small Things”, the Kochamma family is a family of tragic situations and tragic people. Not all of their problems stem from colonization; in fact it is their own cultural traditions that lead to much of the tragedy; however it can be argued that the underlying theme within the novel is one of a people oppressed by the colonization of India by England, and how a society already consumed with prejudices based on class (or caste, as the Indian would refer to it) and colour begins to turn on itself, and devalues its own people, culture and heritage.
The Kochamma family lives, works and plays together. They do not however communicate with each other, nor do they comfort each other or attempt to understand one another. This is the greatest downfall of the family. Colonization plays a role in how some members begin to perceive each other and India as a whole; as well it lays the foundation for the sense of worthlessness each member of the family feels at different times. Although the English have left India when this story takes place, their presence can still be felt. “Englishness” and whiteness is held in high regard, and is something to emulate and work towards. The Indians, who had always had a class system and a disregard for darker skin,...


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...n all of these stories, the children look to their families to help them form their identity and find their place in the world; and in most cases are disappointed with the lack of unity and dis-functionality they encounter. This relationship is much like India has with itself and England. Rather than thinking independently and trying to move away from British culture and being a people oppressed by colonization, the Indian people become a victim once again insomuch that they continue to think like the colonized even after they have won independence.
The fragmentation of families in the post-colonial experience will only cease when the fragmentation of their country and culture has been ratified, and the shameful mindset of the colonized victim is shed from their minds and they are able to find respect and the future in their own customs, culture and people.

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