2011 Student Research Conference:
24th Annual Student Research Conference

"Power's Fear of Powerlessness" in Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things
Sarah E. Pauley
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

The quote, "Civilization's fear of nature, men's fear of women, power's fear of powerlessness" encapsulates the major focus of Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things. The novel illustrates how the characters who represent civilization and power, such as Comrade Pillai and Inspector Matthew, constantly fear the powerless, while those who represent nature and powerlessness have nothing to lose, and so live without fear. Velutha, the Untouchable, and Ammu, the upper-caste Syrian-Christian, represent nature by giving into natural desires instead of accepting civilization's laws. Aware that to the powerful their lives are as insignificant as the minute spider at the History House, they "Stick to Smallness" and enjoy the small moments of pleasure. This paper will trace the many binary relationships between power and powerlessness to show how the lack of fear on the part of the powerless reflects the title The God of Small Things.

Keywords: The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy, women, caste system, power relationships


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 3-3
Location: VH 1408
Time: 8:30

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