The God of Small Things | Study Guide

Arundhati Roy

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The God of Small Things | Characters

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Character Description
Rahel Rahel is the female protagonist of the novel whose perspective as a child and as an adult is important in the narration of the novel. After a separation of 23 years following a series of tragic events, she is reunited with her twin brother, Estha, at their family home in Ayemenem, India. Read More
Estha Estha is the male protagonist of the novel who was so emotionally wounded as a child that he is now a mostly silent adult. He and his twin sister, Rahel, are together again in Ayemenem, India, after 23 years apart. Read More
Ammu Ammu is the mother of the twins Rahel and Estha. Her illicit affair with Velutha, an Untouchable, leads to tragedy for the whole family. Read More
Velutha Velutha is a member of the Untouchables caste in India, but his unusual talents, discovered at a young age, make him acceptable and useful to the Ipe family—until he becomes Ammu's lover. He dies for that illicit affair. Read More
Baby Kochamma Baby Kochamma is the sister of Pappachi and the one who inherits the house at Ayemenem. She is spoiled and manipulative, the self-appointed dictator of what is right and wrong. Read More
Sophie Mol Sophie Mol is the daughter of Chacko and Margaret Kochamma; her tragic drowning while visiting Ayemenem is a key event in the story. Read More
Aleyooty Ammachi Aleyooty Ammachi is the wife of Reverend Ipe, the great-grandmother of Estha and Rahel; her portrait in the house shows a serious, somewhat-sorrowful woman.
Baba Baba is the absent father of Estha and Rahel, although Estha is sent to live with him at age seven. Baba's violent alcoholism led Ammu to leave him when the twins were toddlers.
Baba's father Baba's father is a wealthy and important man in Calcutta who gives Baba and Ammu a fancy wedding and presents that he then takes back. He dies before Estha and Rahel are born.
Balls-in-Brackets Balls-in-Brackets is the cruel name Estha's schoolmates called the bow-legged man who carried their luggage at the train station.
Adoor Basi Adoor Basi is a popular Indian comedian who is at the airport terminal on the day Sophie Mol arrives; he performs a comedic routine for his admirers.
Bellboy The bellboy who takes the family's luggage to their rooms the night before Sophie Mol arrives is an old man in a faded uniform.
Café owner The owner of the café where Margaret Kochamma works when Chacko meets her is displeased with their flirtation; he lectures Margaret about how to behave while on the job.
Chacko Chacko is the only son of Mammachi and Pappachi; he fancies himself to be quite a scholar but never holds a decent job outside of managing his mother's factory.
Chella Chella is Velutha's mother who dies of tuberculosis during the four years when he is mysteriously gone from Ayemenem.
Conductor The conductor on the bus Ammu, Estha, and Rahel ride home from the police station grows impatient when sobbing Ammu fails to state their destination as he punches their tickets.
Eating lady A woman who is eating delicious Indian sweets with her family on the train, seated near Estha as he travels to his father's, offers him a treat, too. She nicely tries to coax him, but he declines because he is "feeling vomity" as he says his final farewell to his mother.
Mr. Hollick Mr. Hollick is Baba's womanizing boss who threatens to fire him for his poor performance and alcoholism but says he will keep him on if Ammu will have an affair with him. Baba proposes the idea to Ammu; she responds violently and soon leaves him.
Reverend Ipe Founder of the family dynasty as the father of Pappachi and Baby Kochamma, Reverend Ipe is a priest in the Syrian Christian church in Ayemenem. He is known as "The Little Blessed One" because an important spiritual leader, the patriarch of Antioch, blessed him as a child.
Joe Joe is Margaret Kochamma's second husband, whom she married shortly after divorcing Chacko; Sophie Mol thinks of Joe as her true father because he raised her until his sudden death.
Kalyani Kalyani is the alluring wife of Comrade Pillai and the mother of Lenin; she will not allow Untouchables in her home.
Johann Klein Johann Klein is the German carpenter who comes to Kottayam, a city near Ayemenem, on a three-year Christian mission trip to teach carpentry; Velutha studies under him daily and becomes an accomplished carpenter.
Margaret Kochamma Margaret Kochamma is Chacko's ex-wife and the mother of Sophie Mol; she divorces Chacko shortly after Sophie is born because she grows tired of his lazy, slovenly ways, and falls in love with Joe.
Kochu Maria Kochu Maria lives with Baby Kochamma in the house at Ayemenem; she is the foul-tempered cook and maid but usually just watches television all day with Baby.
Kottayam police posse The Kottayam police form a posse to capture Velutha after the accusations of rape and murder are lodged against him; the severe beating they give him leads to his death.
S.V.S. Kurup S.V.S. Kurup is a young boy described as "scornful" when he sees Rahal eject a bead from her nose at the doctor's office; he wails when he is called in.
Kuttappen Kuttappen is Velutha's older brother; during Velutha's mysterious absence from Ayenemen, Kuttappen falls out of a coconut tree and becomes paralyzed from the chest down, dooming him to life on his back in a miserable hut, fighting fear and insanity.
Latha Latha, the Pillais' niece, visits them from the nearby city of Kottayam; they are proud of her elocution skills and have her recite for Chacko when he comes to their home.
Lenin Lenin is the Pillais' son, around the same age as Estha and Rahel; Comrade Pillai in particular thinks Lenin is intellectually gifted and teaches him speeches to recite long before the boy can understand them.
Kurien Maathen Kurien Maathen is the family friend who serves as Estha's escort on the train ride to his father's. He is a heavy smoker with thick lips.
Mammachi Mammachi, the mother of Ammu and Chacko, was regularly beaten by her husband until Chacko intervened; by the time the twins come along, Mammachi is nearly blind and lives a strict and reserved life, playing her violin and displaying an unhealthy level of love and possessiveness for her son.
Marching man When the family car is stopped at a railroad crossing and a communist march passes by, one of the marching men invades the car; he mocks the family and makes Baby Kochamma wave a communist flag and repeat a slogan.
Inspector Thomas Mathew Inspector Thomas Mathew is a calculating and politically savvy man. Even though he dislikes the caste system and knows Baby Kochamma misled him, he protects himself and the police force before the people he serves.
Larry McCaslin Larry McCaslin is the man Rahel marries but who never really knows her; they divorce because of her seeming indifference toward him.
Miss Mitten Miss Mitten is a "born again" missionary from Australia who becomes Baby Kochamma's friend; the twins dislike her and treat her rudely.
Murlidharan Murlidharan is an insane war veteran who has no arms and is often seen sitting naked on signs around Ayemenem.
Father Mulligan Father Mulligan is the only man Baby Kochamma ever falls in love with, but that love is not reciprocated. An Irish monk when she meets him at 18, Father Mulligan is a friend of Reverend Ipe and a regular visitor at the house, but later in life he converts to the life of a Lord Vishnu devotee.
Nurse The nurse at the pediatrician's office where Lenin and Rahal are taken because they have stuffed things up their noses is frightening to look at and dismissive in her attitude toward her young patients.
Old lady at funerals One old lady in Ayemenem shows up at most funerals, including Sophie Mol's, even though she does not know the families.
Orangedrink Lemondrink Man Estha calls the disgusting man who molests him at the movie theater the Orangedrink Lemondrink Man; the man runs the concession stand and lures Estha behind the counter with a cold drink when Estha is in the lobby by himself. He then threatens to come and find him in Ayemenem if Estha ever tells anyone what he forces him to do.
Vellya Paapen Vellya Paapen is Velutha's father and has always worried that his son does not follow the rules for Untouchables; when he learns of Velutha's affair with Ammu, Vellya Paapen tells Mammachi and starts the whole sequence of tragic events.
Pappachi Pappachi, father of Ammu and Chacko, is a famous entomologist but is bitter that a moth he discovered is not named after him; an ill-tempered, egotistical, and vain man, Pappachi is a dreadful husband and a snobby Anglophile.
Patriarch of Antioch The patriarch of Antioch is the sovereign head of the Syrian Christian church; he supposedly blessed Reverend Ipe when John was just a child.
Comrade Pillai Comrade Pillai is the leader of the Ayemenem Communist Party and has a design and printing company; he is self-serving more than he is interested in the rights of all people.
Comrade Pillai's mother Comrade Pillai's mother leaves with him and his family; she appears to be extremely old and senile, spending her time rocking and grunting.
Punnachen Punnachen, the accountant at the family's factory, reads Mammachi the newspaper every morning.
Kari Saipu Kari Saipu, known as the Black Sahib, is an Englishman who became more Indian than English; he is the owner of the abandoned History House across the river from the Ipe estate, which has been empty in the years following his suicide due to the loss of his lover, a young boy.
Taxi driver The unfriendly taxi driver who takes the family from the movie theater to the motel on the night before Sophie Mol arrives obviously lives in his car; he is so small that he can barely see over the steering wheel, and he drives recklessly.
Torch man The man who uses a torch (flashlight) to guide the family to their seats for The Sound of Music obviously disapproves of the fact that they have arrived at the movie so late.
Dr. Verghese Verghese Dr. Verghese Verghese is the main pediatrician in the city of Kottayam, near Ayemenem; he once sewed up Kochu Maria's split earlobe.
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