The God of Small Things Questions and Answers
by Arundhati Roy

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Discuss social realism in The God of Small Things.

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Social realism can be defined as works that present racial and social injustice and economic deprivation through a presentation of characters who are facing such issues. By so doing, social realism protests against such inequalities and injustices. When we consider this in the light of this excellent novel, it is clear that Roy is using social realism to critique a number of different aspects of the contemporary world, including the caste system that is still in operation in India, colonialism and corrupt officials. However, one aspect that I found particularly striking is the reality of immigrants who leave countries such as India and go to "richer" and more developed countries to supposedly enjoy a better quality of life. Consider how this works out for Rahel when she goes to the United States:

After they were divorced, Rahel worked for a few months as a waitress in an Indian restaurant in New York. And then for several years as a night...

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Social Realism developed as a reaction against idealism and the exaggerated ego encouraged by Romanticism. With a new sense of social consciousness, the social realists pledged to “fight the beautiful art”, any style which appealed to the eye or emotions. They focused on the ugly realities of the contemporary life and sympathized with working class people, particularly the poor. They recorded what they saw in a dispassionate manner. It is known as social realism. And if we go through dictionary- Social is a word that means living in company or convivial or pertaining to society. The other meaning may be used as inter-dependent. If we live in society we are called social. Realism means theory in regard to things in their true nature or freedom from prejudice. Social Realism may be defined as reality of the society - its culture, its customs contemporarial values all are included in social realism. The word Social Realism is used by Arundhati Roy in a very profound and vivid manner. In many incidents and situations, we feel as such things are just happening before us.“The God of Small Things has it all : the echoes, calls and the cries of the Earth. But more importantly, an intellectual daring. This... is not just an extraordinary novel, but an uncoiling spring of human foreboding and inevitability. It is quite simply unbeatable.”The God of Small Things is a great work by Arundhati Roy which presents the glimpse of social realism, its true picture through many incidents described in the novel. “In The God of Small Things, Roy creates a microcosm that encompasses wife battleing in fidelity, molestation, emotional insecurity, pride and death within one family in the Southern Indian state of Kerala.”2 Gender discrimination, untouchability (a great evil of society, corrupt police administration, problems & clashes of cultures, all are the best examples of social realism. In these  aspects, we can see the reality of the contemporaries.
The theme of the novel is the confrontation between ‘The Big Man’ and ‘The Small Man’. In the novel two small persons, Ammu and Velutha have to leave the world for the big things. “Even later on the thirteen nights that followed this one instinctively, they stuck to the small things. The Big things ever lurked inside. They knew that there was nowhere for them to go. They had nothing. No future, so they stuck to the small things.”The God of Small Things is a realistic portrayal of the gender discrimination prevalent in Indian society. Ammu is the central character who yearns for pleasure and happiness and for a life far from hurdles and constraints. As a little girl, Ammu had to face a lot of worries and anxieties, fret and fever of life. She had to face the cruelty of her father, Pappachi who used to beat her and her mother, Mammachi with a brass-vase. Ammu was also deprived of the higher education. Pappachi thought that college education is not at all useful for a girl