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The God of Small Things | Quotes


To Rahel it seemed as though this difficulty that their family had with classification ran much deeper.

Narrator, Chapter 1

The reference here is to a banana jam that the factory was forced to discontinue because it did not fit properly into the classifications. On a much bigger level, the family has trouble letting go of the classifications of the caste system, and this leads to the family tragedy.


It was a time when the unthinkable became thinkable and the impossible really happened.

Narrator, Chapter 1

What is unthinkable and impossible is that Ammu and Velutha would have an affair, Sophie Mol would drown, and the family would be torn apart—all over the course of December 1969 in Ayemenem.


Time in the life of a family when something happens to nudge its hidden morality from its resting place.

Narrator, Chapter 2

As the family travels to pick up Sophie Mol and Margaret Kochamma at the airport, a series of events begins that will reveal their hidden secrets and moral deficits.


She hadn't learned to control her hopes yet. Estha said that was a Bad Sign.

Narrator, Chapter 2

With their intuitive abilities and ability to communicate silently, the twins believe in the mystical aspects of the universe. What Rahel has been doing is hoping that they will be on time for The Sound of Music, and so fate intervenes to ruin her hopes.


When you hurt people, they begin to love you less. That's what careless words do.

Ammu, Chapter 4

Ammu says these words in response to Rahel's sarcastic comment about Ammu's belief that the Orangedrink Lemondrink Man is a good person who treated Estha well. It is her typical style of emotional punishment, threatening to withdraw her love from the children.


Things can change in a day.

Narrator, Chapter 7

This sentiment is expressed several times in the novel, and certainly Rahel and Estha know that one's world can be turned inside out in just 24 hours.


She hoped that under his careful cloak of cheerfulness he housed a living, breathing anger against the smug, ordered world.

Narrator, Chapter 7

Ammu is wishing that Velutha might share her rebellious attitude toward the ridiculous social mores of their world. She hopes this just before she realizes her physical attraction to him.


Where they really lived. Where the Love Laws lay down who should be loved. And how. And how much.

Narrator, Chapter 8

After the sudden, shocking realization that they are attracted to each other, Ammu and Velutha come crashing back down to reality, to the world in which a love affair between them is not allowed.


If he held her, he couldn't kiss her. If he kissed her, he couldn't see her. If he saw her, he couldn't feel her.

Narrator, Chapter 11

As she naps during the afternoon of Sophie Mol's arrival, Ammu dreams of Velutha. The image fits his status as an Untouchable.


It wasn't what lay at the end of her road that frightened Ammu as much as the nature of the road itself.

Narrator, Chapter 11

Upon returning to Ayemenem Ammu feels that her life is over, that she has no unexpected pleasures or joys still to encounter.


A friendship that never circled around into a story ... Sophie Mol became a Memory, while The Loss of Sophie Mol grew robust and alive.

Narrator, Chapter 14

The death of Sophie Mol and the attendant tragic events will haunt the family forever. The girl is forgotten, but her death lives on.


The early morning heat was full of the promise of worse to come.

Narrator, Chapter 18

As the Kottayam police march toward Velutha at the History House, the world seems to know that things will never be the same.


There was nothing accidental about what happened that morning ... This was an era imprinting itself on those who lived in it.

Narrator, Chapter 18

The vicious beating given to Velutha was directed at much bigger things than one man. It was rage at the disruption of the social order and fear for what might happen if it is not stopped.


What came for them? Not Death. Just the end of living.

Narrator, Chapter 19

The narrator asks this question about Ammu, Rahel, and Estha on the night that Death came for Velutha. The answer indicates that life as the small family knew it has ended for them. None of the three will recover from the tragedy enough to enjoy living.


The cost of living climbed to unaffordable heights.

Narrator, Chapter 21

When Ammu and Velutha make love for the first time, they both feel truly alive for the first time. However, the costs will be greater than either of them would have imagined or been willing to pay for their pleasure.

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