The Guidelines To Culture And Society
In every culture and society, there is usually a social guideline to abide by no matter how different and established one may be. Individuals are sometimes not permitted to marry outside of their social class due to his or hers guidelines that are assigned to them. Ones social class depends on their ancestors and on the way they live and their rituals, things that form their society.
Women in many cultures are aware of the status they must obtain, in their given society and they become aware of the boundaries that cannot be broken. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy implies this affirmation. The novel constantly refers to specific social statuses.
It also has certain stereotypical beliefs for women. Women were not respected and accredited to the degree that men were.The social requirements and demands that were needed to be met depending on ones gender, led some of the characters to be miserable. It was said that you could not date or marry outside of your social class and you must stay with the person you have been arraigned to be with. This affected the mother of the main characters most greatly.
Ammu was in love, perhaps maybe simply in lust or even something less effective like a simple desire to be different by falling for an untouchable. Untouchables were in a former time regarded so low that they , " were not allowed to walk on public roads, not allowed to cover their upper bodies, not allowed to carry umbrellas" (71), this could be understood that they were almost regarded to be less than human. Ammu's mother would not even allow untouchables in her house.The untouchable Ammu fell for was named Velutha and considered to be of lowest caste. This was unthinkable and not permissible in social terms.
Velutha was a member of the communist/Marxist party. Their secret love affair was unacceptable not only for their life styles but also for family approval. Their interactions broke rules, "Only that once again they broke the Love Laws. That lay down who should be loved. And how.
And how much."(311), there were certain love laws that could not be broken and they both broke them unconditionally. There affair went on to cause so much trouble and they knew that it could not last and so much trouble could unravel. Society would not permit them to be together. Ammu and Velutha were of different social statuses and any relations were forbidden. Ammu cared deeply for him,"Ammu longed for him.
Ached for him with the whole of her biology."(312), she knew what was at stake and could not help but follow her heart.Prior to her affair, Ammu faced criticisms due to her divorce. Divorced women were frowned upon which is not something that is new but is more accepted now then it was back then. One character had a specific opinion toward divorced women.
Baby Kochamma thought that, "a divorced daughterâ€¦ [according to Baby Kochamma] she had no position anywhere at all" (45), it did not matter how unhappy you were you were set to marry someone and be with that someone, liking it or not. The society seems more concerned for what was socially acceptable than whether people were happy or not. Ammu's parents had a very bad marriage and her mother did not have the option of getting divorced. Her parents' marriage was arranged therefore, there was no foundation of love. Some say that arranged marriages work in a way that both man and women will someday grow feelings for each other, but in their situation, it did not.
Both Ammu and her mother were abused by her father, physically and mentally. The father was more concerned about his public appearance than anything else. Ammu's father was worried about appearing moral and sophisticated, "But alone with his wife and children he turned into a monstrous, suspicious bully, with a streak of vicious cunning" (172), he had alternate personalities.
He had a persona that he upheld outside of the home and a mean streak with his family. The situation was severe enough where her brother would intervene. In one instance when Ammu's brother arrived home to his mother being beaten by his father, "Chacko strode in into the room, caught Pappachi's vase-hand and twisted it around his back" (47), this portrays the lack of respect toward women and the process of change.
After that incident the mother was never again beaten.Their seemed to be a repetitive void that child felt toward their parents. On several occasions, Ammu was aggravated by something her children said and would make comments implying that she would love them less. She would directly say to her children, "D' you know what happens when you hurt people?â€¦. When you hurt people, they begin to love you less. That is what careless words do.
They make people love you a little less" (107), Ammu manipulated the children. She used love to her advantage in controlling the children and quilting them into feeling badly. This not only helped Ammu to some how show her affection and to make her children realize that with wrong doings they can lose everything, just like Pappachi and Babu experienced.When it comes down to it, the women in the story seem to be repressed. As a result of this repression, they attempt to control and manipulate situations.
Ammu is unhappy of the life she leads and the secret affair she can never live out. She therefore resents her children and puts guilt on them by saying that she would love them less. The social guidelines are what lead to her misery. One unfortunate incident acts as a domino effect. She begins by having a horrible father, which leads her to an unhappy marriage.
This unhappy marriage, than results to having children and getting divorced. The divorce leads her to be judged by society. She finally falls for a man who is of a lower caste, leaving her with no possibility of having a life with him.
The society produced the love laws and guidelines that led her to be unhappy. Being unhappy caused Ammu a lot of pain and distress she put herself into positions in which she was frowned upon not only the society in which she lived but also her family including her children.
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