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Her illustrious predecessor in this case was none other than Mahatma Gandhi. He has become the self-appointed one-man transatlantic bridge to stay in the imperial game. She is a subaltern who feels empowered to speak. Her anti-imperial discourse owes a lot to the postcolonial strategy of writing back to the British Empire.

ISBN 13: 9783640357451

Historically, it was the West which had the power of description. The postcolonial mindset had enabled the non-European peoples to travel to the West but only to talk about themselves 16 , not to represent the other. Globalization of dissent has reversed the tables and made it possible for subject peoples to represent their Masters. She showed deplorable ethical insensitivity when told about the Iraqi children who had died because of American economic sanctions. Absence of media coverage and cynical statistical quantification of deaths in the third world rendered the lives of such people anonymous and valueless, as if they were a superfluous fringe of humanity.

Roy argues that Bill Clinton visited India in only because India had the nuclear bomb. The purpose of his regal visit was to expand American economic power in India. Gigantism is an attribute of superpower. The phenomenal logistics of Operation Iraqi Freedom is an example of American power or the tentacular reach of American multinationals and mass media for that matter. The terrorist attacks on the World Trade centre are symbolic gestures that translate the despair of the powerless who feel dwarfed by the colossal scale of American power.

This controversial and postcolonial interpretation seems to have been prompted by the unconscious parallel that Arundhati Roy draws between the gigantism of the skyscrapers and the big dams erected in developing countries often with the help of the World Bank. The size of the American Empire is a bad thing in itself, but it can have worse consequences in the sense it can lead to detrimental copycat gigantism because of the world view which America has helped promote and which upholds competition, not co-operation, as a pivotal value.

No other image could have better conveyed the idea of good coalescing into evil. Roy accuses the US of buying or bullying its way into third world markets. On the one hand, economic measures such as structural reform, privatization and liberalization starve and decimate the local population with the aim of creating a good investment climate for American firms. Even Presidents Lula and Nelson Mandela were obliged to make concessions to prevent the flight of capital out of their countries. On the other hand, cowardly wars are waged in foreign territories to promote the interests of Halliburton and Bechtel, while undermining the right to self-determination of the people who live there.

What Roy blames first and foremost is the indecency of the privatization of war. So you rape. Then you kill. Rahel thinks she sees Velutha, a servant who works for the family's pickle factory among the protesters.

Later at the theater, Estha is sexually molested by the "Orangedrink Lemondrink Man," a vendor working the snack counter. Estha's experience factors into the tragic events at the heart of the narrative. Rahel's assertion that she saw Velutha in the Communist mob causes Baby Kochamma to associate Velutha with her humiliation at the protesters' hands, and she begins to harbor enmity toward him. Velutha is a dalit lower caste in India. Rahel and Estha form an unlikely bond with Velutha and come to love him despite his caste status. It is her children's love for Velutha that causes Ammu to realize her own attraction to him, and eventually, she comes to "love by night the man her children loved by day.

When her relationship with Velutha is discovered, Ammu is locked in her room and Velutha is banished. In her rage, Ammu blames the twins for her misfortune and calls them "millstones around her neck. Their cousin, Sophie also joins them. During the night, as they try to reach an abandoned house across the river, their boat capsizes and Sophie drowns.

When Margaret and Chacko return from a trip, they see Sophie's body laid out on the sofa. Baby Kochamma goes to the police and accuses Velutha of being responsible for Sophie's death. A group of policemen hunt Velutha down, savagely beat him for crossing caste lines, and arrest him on the brink of death. The twins, huddling in the abandoned house, witness the horrific scene. Later, when they reveal the truth to the chief of police he is alarmed. He knows that Velutha is a Communist, and is afraid that if word gets out that the arrest and beating were wrongful, it will cause unrest among the local Communists.

He threatens to hold Baby Kochamma responsible for falsely accusing Velutha. To save herself, Baby Kochamma tricks Rahel and Estha into believing that the two of them would be implicated as having murdered Sophie out of jealousy and were facing sure imprisonment for them and their Ammu.

She thus convinces them to lie to the inspector that Velutha had kidnapped them and had murdered Sophie. Velutha dies of his injuries overnight. After Sophie's funeral, Ammu goes to the police to tell the truth about her relationship with Velutha. Afraid of being exposed, Baby Kochamma convinces Chacko that Ammu and the twins were responsible for his daughter's death.

Why Pleasure Is So Important, Both Personally and Politically

Chacko kicks Ammu out of the house and forces her to send Estha to live with his father. Estha never sees Ammu again. Ammu dies alone a few years later at the age of After a turbulent childhood and adolescence in India, Rahel gets married and goes to America. There, she divorces before returning to Ayemenem after years of working dead-end jobs.

Rahel and Estha, now 31, are reunited for the first time since they were children. They had been haunted by their guilt and their grief-ridden pasts. It becomes apparent that neither twin ever found another person who understood them in the way they understand each other. Toward the end of the novel, the twins have sex.

The novel comes to a close with a nostalgic recounting of Ammu and Velutha's love affair. Estha, which is short for Esthappen Yako, is Rahel's twin brother.

He is a serious, intelligent, and somewhat nervous child who wears "beige and pointy shoes" and has an "Elvis puff. The narrator emphasizes that Estha's "Two Thoughts" in the pickle factory, stemming from this experience—that "Anything can happen to Anyone" and that "It's best to be prepared"—are critical in leading to his cousin's death. Estha is the twin chosen by Baby Kochamma, because he is more "practical" and "responsible," to go into Velutha's cell at the end of the book and condemn him as his and Rahel's abductor. This trauma, in addition to the trauma of being shipped or "Returned" to Calcutta to live with his father, contributes to Estha's becoming mute at some point in his childhood.

He never goes to college and acquires a number of habits, such as wandering on very long walks and obsessively cleaning his clothes. He is so close to his sister that the narrator describes them as one person, despite having been separated for most of their lives.

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Interview with Arundhati Roy

He is repeatedly referred to as "Silent. Rahel is the partial narrator of the story, and is Estha's younger sister by 18 minutes. As a girl of seven, her hair sits "on top of her head like a fountain" in a "Love-in-Tokyo" band, and she often wears red-tinted plastic sunglasses with yellow rims. An intelligent and straightforward person who has never felt socially comfortable, she is impulsive and wild, and it is implied that everyone but Velutha treats her as somehow lesser than her brother.

In later life, she becomes something of a drifter; several times, the narrator refers to her "Emptiness.

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Ammu is Rahel's and Estha's mother. She married their father referred to as Baba only to get away from her family. He was an alcoholic, and she divorced him when he started to be violent toward her and her children. She went back to Ayemenem, where people avoided her on the days when the radio played "her music" and she got a wild look in her eyes. When the twins are seven, she has an affair with Velutha.

Interview with Arundhati Roy -

This relationship is one of the cataclysmic events in the novel. She is a strict mother, and her children worry about losing her love. Velutha is a Paravan, an Untouchable , who is exceptionally smart and works as a carpenter at the Ipe family's pickle factory. His name means white in Malayalam , because he is so dark.

He returns to Ayemenem to help his father, Vellya Paapen, take care of his brother, who was paralyzed in an accident. He is an active member of the local Communist movement. Velutha is extremely kind to the twins, and has an affair with Ammu for which he is brutally punished. Chacko is Estha's and Rahel's maternal uncle.