2004 Student Research Conference:
17th Annual Student Research Conference

Language & Literature

Enforcing the Love Laws: Baby Kochamma's Role in Roy's The God of Small Things
Jessica L. Ford
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things describes “The Love Laws,” which “lay down who should be loved. And how. And how much.” Ammu, the divorced mother of twins Rahel and Estha, chooses to break the Love Laws, having an affair with an Untouchable. However, Baby Kochamma, the twins’ great-aunt, was not so willing to flout convention, and as a result has carried a lifelong unrequited love for a priest. Driven by the pain of her own stifling life, Baby has become so resistant to change that not only is she unable to accept the violation of societal norms by those around her, but her primary source of gratification is reminding others of their places. In this paper, symbolic interaction theories of social stratification will be used to explore Baby’s role as a symbol of how the “Love Laws” work, creating a superficial impression of social order while wreaking emotional havoc on the individuals actually involved.

Keywords: Arundhati Roy, caste system, social stratificatio


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 33-2
Location: VH 1320
Time: 2:30

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