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God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy - Dramatic Monologue - Essay Example

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Ammu: At every turn of my life, you continued to harass and haunt me with one excuse or the other, and now you have locked me up to protect caste purity! You wish to defend lineage at all costs! You humiliate me by using madcap Inspector Matthews who seeks the pleasure of…
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God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy – Dramatic Monologue of the Institution
Revised paper sent on 24-2-2014.
Ammu: At every turn of my life, you continued to harass and haunt me with one excuse or the other, and now you have locked me up to protect caste purity! You wish to defend lineage at all costs! You humiliate me by using madcap Inspector Matthews who seeks the pleasure of touching my body through his baton! Physical brutality and brutality of mind are part of this touchable race! You wish to terrorise me by using law! I say at the top of my voice, shout out my feelings that I love Velutha… I always loved him….why do you lynch him physically and through the words of your foul tongue? Do you think that you alone are the protector of Purity of the future generations! Purity! What sins you all continue to commit in the name of Purity! You’re so ruthless against Velutha as if he were no human being at all! You are a liar and commit perjury, and you brag about your self-righteous actions! You always deal with me with your famous double standards! Chacko marrying an English woman is an adventure and my marriage to a Bengali and Hindu is a sin according to your caste mentality! You cruelly dislike my children for being Hindu hybrids! You condemn me and condone Chacko! Why do you go hysterical for my being with Velutha? Does he not have man’s needs? Who are you to impose restrictions on my biological needs, my progression and regression? You call me an animal just because I refuse to be docile and submissive? I hate your ideal role models of women like Sita or Parvati. I want to walk out to a better, happier place with Velutha. You attack my life like a suicide bomber bent on destroying me—emotionally! I am not willing to stay on the dividing line based on castes! You are out to destroy my only future—Velutha—and for that you plan to murder him legally, through the brutalized police department. You have broken him and me physically and mentally at the altar of phantasms of purity. I hate your maternal and martial conventionality from the bottom of my heart, and you have no business to lock me up at the altar of love defined as per your wicked mathematics, and I will continue to resist you for your efforts to destroy my identity. Cannot an ‘untouchable’ pursue happiness? I consider it my duty to love him and support his love for me by challenging these humiliating political and social structures. We both seek emancipation from the exploitation of the worst order. Rahel and Estha look up to Velutha as a father-figure. What’s wrong about it? They are unfortunate to have been denied love from their father. You have tricked me and locked me up to prevent me from meeting Velutha? How can you do this to me? You push and corner me to such an extent that I now hate Rahel and Estha and think in a way they are responsible for my plight! My thinking is all muddled now, and I do not know where I am heading! On top of this, now you have framed a case against Velutha that he is responsible for the death of Sophie and that he has raped me! Incredible! To what extent a mother can go against her own flesh and blood—her daughter! You hail Velutha with such repulsion and say about his particular Paravan smell! Do you carry the sacred Temple all along with you in life? What astounding duplicity and double-dealing! What contamination you are afraid of? ……and don’t I know how pure you are and about your affair with Father Mulligan?
Ammu is a woman born in India, the so-called land of repository of culture! Trials, tribulations, duty and beauty are part of her life and she enjoys the beauty aspect for a very short period, if at all! These aspects continuously haunt and confront her in life. A woman has to perform several conflicting roles in the drama of her life, and she is the script writer, director and the actor in that drama. The viewers and critics of her life’s drama are continuously at war with her. Ammu is also cast in that mould. She is mom to Estha and Rahel, Pappachi and Mammachi’s daughter and Chacko’s younger sister. A female child is victimised from the cradle to the grave, from the womb to the tomb, and in each turn of her life, she is reminded of the word sacrifice and she is always under compulsion of the circumstances to receive the rewards or punishments for her sacrifice with a balanced mental attitude.
Pivotal scene in the text
“Ammu didn’t cry. When he finished beating he made her bring him Mammachi’s pinking shears from her sewing cupboard. While Ammu watched, the Imperial Entomologist shred her new gumboots with her mother’s pinking shears. The strips of black rubber fell on the floor. The scissors made sticking scissor-sounds. Ammu ignored her mother’s drawn, frightened face that appeared at the window. It took ten minutes for her beloved gumboots to be completely shredded. When the last strip of rubber had stripped to the floor, her father looked at her with cold, flat eyes, and rocked and rocked and rocked. Surrounded by a sea of twisting, rubber snakes.
As she grew older, Ammu learned to live with the cold, calculating cruelty. She developed a lofty sense of injustice and the mulish, reckless streak that develops in Someone Small who has been bullied all their lives by Someone Big. She did exactly nothing to avoid quarrels and confrontations. In fact it could be argued that she sought them out perhaps even enjoyed them.” (1997, p. 181-182)
Interior monologue
Ammu: O, Creator of destinies,
The life of a creeper is better than that of a woman!
At each stage of life teasing and torments fall to my lot
Beatings from my father I endure with pleasure,
Then that stranger sows the seed of love and the tender sapling grows
When it is time for flowers and fruits, he cuts it and throws!
My children, my own flesh and blood, rebel against me!
The societal rebukes turn me cynical!
I rely on the sexual pleasure and believe that it will save me for once!
Hope for a new turn in my life!
They kill him; he falls at the altar of an ideology
Leaving me forlorn to embrace death!
Ammu: “In retrospect, three things are clear to me in life. The life of a girl-child is like the creeper. She always needs the support in the process of her growth. Whereas my brother was eventually sent to Oxford Rhodes School for higher studies, I was rotting in the house, waiting for marriage proposals. My progress in life is not straight as desired by me. It is circuitous and like the creeper it goes round and round on its support system in an effort to reach the desired destination. Pappachi is kind of a drunk jerk, terrorising Mammachi and me. Parental love is the first source; husband’s the second; (About the cruelty of her husband the author gives the description of a violent incident: “Suddenly he lunged at her, grabbed her hair, punched her and then passed out from the effort” (p42); the third one is that of children and the societal responses to helpless women in various situations. (The author writes about the incident at the Police Station. “Inspector Mathew came around his desk and approached Ammu with his baton. ‘If I were you,’ he said ‘I’d go home quickly.’ Then he tapped her breasts with his baton” (p.8). But in my life, I found each source of love dry and I remained parched. I can’t help feeling that destiny has been cruel to me and played the negative role to challenge and frustrate me. I did not get the support of my children, when I needed it most. ( Arundhati Roy writes “Anyway, now she thinks of Estha and Rahel as Them, because separately, the two of them are no longer what They were or ever thought They’d be” (p.3). The circumstances in my life turn me cynical and I begin to think that the entire humankind is ignoble”.
Evaluation of the impact of one significant social construct:
Love as depicted in the novel is an important social construct. Certain love relationships are forbidden and taboo. Ammu’s love for Velutha is not acceptable by the societal standards as the latter is from a different religion. Such “Love Laws” prescribe who has to love whom and under what circumstances. Society brutally punishes breakers of the law. Ammu is not afraid of marrying the man of her choice challenging all social restrictions, and later divorcing him, when she finds him to be an intolerant man and cruel by disposition. Next, she is not afraid to fall in love and develop an affair with Velutha, the communist revolutionary. Through love Ammu challengers the gender based identity of class and sex and will not allow fate to dominate her life and fights for social justice. Her experiences of love are not beautiful, but challenging.
Reference List
Roy, Arundhati (1997). The God of Small Things. India Ink; New Delhi; Print.
Page: 41-42 “Well, actually, there may be an option….. Ammu be sent to his bunglow to be ‘looked after’.
Ammu: “Did he say that? ‘Ammu be sent to his bungalow to be ‘looked after?’ You listened to him like a dumb statue cut in alabaster? You, father of two children, aren’t you ashamed to collect dutifully the vomit of your boss? Is your head is stuffed with grass you bull? You honey-tongued devil! I fell for your sweet words when I saw you for the first time. When you proposed within five days, I thought you were a young man capable of taking quick decisions and you like fast tracks! You were in a hurry and you gave me twins. No disputes about it and I accepted them as God’s grace…then you began to confront me with angry outbursts for nothing, and I accepted them too as part our married life. Still I thought you are a brave man and a fighter! Your fondness for alcohol turned to madness, you came home charging like a mad bull and created scenes, and that too I accepted and thought one day I will be able to influence you with reformation and rehabilitation processes. I wanted my children to know that their father is not weird. I never knew, behind your old-fashioned spectacles, you had haunting eyes. Your smile is deceptive and your humor is poisonous! You have the killer instinct in your juvenile charm. You became an addict to drinks and began to hit me every day, and I maintained as much secrecy about it to save our marriage. At night you hit me, and in the mornings you sometimes giggled, and I was puzzled at your whimsical behaviour”.
“Does your boss call me young and cheeky? Why didn’t you slap him then and there? And you continue to praise your boss, about his words of wisdom, his tragic charm and his immense capacity to drink and all such outrageous lies about him! What for? I was expecting the worst from him for quite some time, the way he used to stare at my backless blouse during our visits to the Club. But why should he have planned to sack you from your job, and how foolish of him to think that he will have me on his bed by such threats? I don’t blame that bastard for planning his moves. I am sick of you that you did not retaliate instantly! I knew that our marriage has been a disaster, but never imagined that you would crawl before your Manager and sell your wife. After your drinking bouts, you lunged at me. I tolerated it! You grabbed my hair and punched me on my stomach. I accepted it. You used sticks and wooden planks to thrash me. I said nothing. Violence, violence and more violence! Physical torture, mental torture and psychological suffering! I carried on...and today you treat me as rubbish and thrash and wish to auction my flesh and for that you want my consent? I spit on your face and divorce is too mild a punishment for you! With all my inner power I hate you! As of now and for all time to come!! Be not seen anymore!! Read More
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