The Oppression Of Colonized India Illustrated In Arundhati Roy’s Novel The God Of Small Things

1527 words - 6 pages

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, become more obsessed with this, and the whiter a person’s skin, they more value they believe that person has. When families began interracial marriages with white English people, the break down of the family begins immediately, as the new white spouse, and their subsequent offspring have a higher value in Indian society, and within their own Indian families. In the Kochemma family, the eldest son studies as an oxford scholar in England, and marries a white woman: “Anybody could see that Chacko was a proud and happy man to have a wife like Margaret. White. In a flowered, printed frock with legs underneath.” (pg. 136). Chacko and Margaret meet in England while he is studying at Oxford, and he become so engrossed in his new life that he loses all contact with his family. In his new life he is happy to be in England, studying at living with a white woman. He does not live up to his responsibilities to his family, and does not bother to contact them. It would seem that Chacko had elevated himself from the people that worked so hard for him to be able to go to England. Instead of having pride in his family, he forgets about them: “The truth is that in his years at Oxford, Chacko rarely thought of them. Too much happening in...

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