The God of Small Things | Study Guide

Arundhati Roy

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The God of Small Things | Chapter 9 : Mrs. Pillai, Mrs. Eapen, Mrs. Rajagopalan | Summary



Returning to the present, the narrative focuses on Rahel sitting outside in the garden one evening. She is wondering what will become of her and Estha. As she studies the toads hopping around the fountain, she remembers a long-ago day when she, Estha, and Sophie Mol—who had quickly become true friends—dressed up in saris and visited Velutha, pretending to be three fine Indian ladies. He had gone along with their playacting, just as he had allowed them a few days later to paint his nails red.

As lights come on in the house, Rahel can see Estha in his room, still and staring. She realizes again how very damaged they both are. She identifies Velutha as the victim of the event called "The Terror," and recalls that her mother was lost to them as well. She despairs that they cannot get past their tragic childhood.

Hours later, still sitting in the garden, Rahel hears the drums of a kathakali performance and decides to go. She stops to look in the abandoned factory and remembers that this is where she found Estha on the day Sophie Mol arrived in Ayemenem and he disappeared.


Rahel's despair is evident in this chapter. Using the words No Locusts Stand I, an incorrect translation of the Latin phrase locus standi, she labels herself as a person with no real identity, no standing, no home. She has "no plans" for what to do with her life. She sees that both she and Estha are lost souls, utterly damaged and without even anger to release them from the burden.

"The Terror" is becoming more clear, as Roy provides more clues. That story involves the police capturing Velutha when his nails are painted red. They mock him for that even as they make him a victim. Ammu follows him through the "Hole in the Universe" he leaves, and she does nothing to help her children cope.

Meanwhile Sophie Mol, whose appearance in the family is consistently claimed as the start of the trouble, continues to be portrayed as a well-balanced child who quickly endears herself to Estha and Rahel. She will not play the games of family dysfunction and lack of reality. She does not wish to take anything from the twins.

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