The God of Small Things | Study Guide

Arundhati Roy

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The God of Small Things | Chapter 21 : The Cost of Living | Summary



In lyrical prose this chapter describes the first time Ammu and Velutha make love, the night of Sophie Mol's first day in Ayemenem. Somehow they both know the other will be at the river, and their encounter occurs on its shore. For the first time in years, Ammu feels alive. Velutha feels terror about what he has done, but she calms him with her embrace.

Ammu and Velutha meet for 13 more nights before the real Terror occurs, at the History House. A tiny spider watches them, and they grow to love the spider's fragility, which they know they share. On the last night they make the same promise to each other they have made every night: "Tomorrow."


The sweetness of this final chapter reminds readers that this novel is a love story at its core. The terrible sadness is that the love could not last even though no one could ever be harmed by such happiness. It was simply forbidden, and in the world Ammu and Velutha live in that is all that matters.

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