The God of Small Things | Study Guide

Arundhati Roy

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The God of Small Things | Chapter 6 : Cochin Kangaroos | Summary

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Summary

Once again the narrative focuses on the time of Sophie Mol's arrival. The family members dress in their best clothes for the trip to the airport. At the airport, Rahel is intrigued with four cement kangaroos whose pouches are used as ashtrays and trash bins. As the passengers come off the plane, Sophie Mol and Margaret Kochamma are spotted. Chacko introduces everyone, but the scene is awkward. The children don't want to cooperate with making a good first impression, and Ammu gets very angry.

Despite the initial awkwardness, the cousins start to make friends as children do. Rahel, obsessed with losing more of Ammu's love to the newcomer, asks questions about who loves who most. Sophie Mol declares her love for her dead stepfather, Joe, and shows off her sophisticated English ways.

On the trip home, they see a dead elephant in the road. Rahel and Estha sing the English song Baby Kohamma taught them and has made them practice over and over.

Analysis

The meeting at the airport has been long-awaited, and the children have been groomed to make a good impression. They feel the falseness of it all, and they think of the situation as a play in which they must perform. Throughout the chapter, Rahel and Estha assume different roles—as ambassadors, as an Airport Fairy, as English singers—which supports the staged feeling of it. When Rahel hides, it's behind a curtain, and Chacko presents flowers to Margaret Kohamma and Sophie Mol the same way actors onstage receive them after a performance.

Obviously the twins are jealous of the adoration bestowed on Sophie Mol. They want to be loved as she is. Yet from this beginning interaction with her, it's clear that she is just herself, not some sort of ideal child. Although her entry into the Ipe family is the start of life-altering events, it is not by her choice. The dead elephant is an omen of terrible things to come, but to her it is just an interesting sight.

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