The God of Small Things | Study Guide

Arundhati Roy

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The God of Small Things | Chapter 16 : A Few Hours Later | Summary



As the chapter title suggests it is not long before Estha, Rahel, and Sophie Mol also go down to the river to cross over to the History House. Estha and Rahel have been screamed at by their mother, who is trapped behind her locked bedroom door, and it is their opportunity to go to the safe place they have been preparing. Sophie Mol insists she must go with them because otherwise the adults will torture her to reveal where the twins are hiding.

Halfway across the river, however, the boat tips over. Estha and Rahel, strong swimmers, make it to the other shore, but Sophie Mol is swept away. Devastated, the twins go on to the History House. They do not see Velutha there.


Roy refers to two different traditional children's stories in this chapter, "The Pied Piper" and "Hansel and Gretel," as if reminding readers that this is no fairy tale and is more horrible than any story imaginable. Rahel's heart is smothered by Pappachi's moth; the twins are both "numb with fear, waiting for the world to end." The fact that the usually intuitive siblings have no idea Velutha is there seems to indicate that all the magic in the world is lost. Darkness has won.

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