Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

It didn't matter that the story had begun, because Kathakali discovered long ago that the secret of the Great Stories is that they have no secrets.

The God of Small Things is a 1997 Booker Prize-winning novel by the Indian author Arundhati Roy. In terms of imagery, what is immediately apparent is Roy's use of nature and the natural world. The weather is described as hot and humid, the days long, the nights clear. When the rains start, the landscape is verdant and wild. These images set the scene, give a sense of the setting, and create the mood for the novel. This use of natural imagery continues throughout the novel.

Like any novel worth its salt, there is symbolism aplenty. The use of the weather, beginning in the first chapter, could certainly have symbolic significance. Weather often represents the personality of the characters or is used to foreshadow. Death is also a big part of the novel, and it's both literal and figurative. There's a funeral just a few pages into the book, which certainly makes it a book about mortality, and, continuing with the nature theme, Roy describes dead fish in the river, which seems to indicate something out of joint in both the natural world and society. The river reoccurs and can be seen as one of the major symbols of the book.

As the title indicates, there is also a religious aspect to the novel, and the reader is left to decide whether Roy is using Hinduism in a positive or negative manner.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial