Chapter 21 of “The God of Small Things” tells of Ammu and Velutha’s love making; the reader desperately wants the pair to be together and the chapter is intense due to the reader’s knowledge of what is to come. Ammu is a beautiful and sardonic woman who has been victimized first by her father and then her husband. While raising her children, she has become tense and repressed and this leads to her becoming reckless, a trait which spurred her into the dangerous affair.
Ammu’s latent “Unsafe Edge,” full of desire and “reckless rage,” emerges fully during Sophie Mol’s visit and draws her to Velutha, an “Untouchable” worker at the pickle factory. Roy employs a non linear narrative as a narrative technique. This structure allows the reader to peel away the mysteries in the novel as well as representing the shattered lives of the people in the Ipe family. The love making between Ammu and Velutha is profound and somehow removed from time, even though the experience is the catalyst for the events leading up to Velutha’s own violent death and, ultimately, the destruction of the twin’s lives.
The fact that the love making is described in the final chapter creates a sense of dramatic irony as the reader is aware of the horrors that are going to take place in the following weeks, yet the characters remain blissfully unaware. This results in the novel ending with an image of hope and optimism for Ammu and Velutha as they have their promise to each of: “Tomorrow. ” This creates dramatic irony as the reader knows that there will be no tomorrow for the couple and the use of a non linear narrative allows this ironic ending to be pieced together.
During all of their clandestine meetings after that, Ammu and Velutha focus on the “Small Things,” small and present pleasures, insects, the details of one another’s bodies. In particular, they keep watch over a spider, which Velutha names “Lord Rubbish. ” This is a metaphor for their relationship. Like the couple the spider has to stay hidden in order to blossom, “camouflaged himself”. He is also described to be, “self-destructive” which is can also be related to the couple as their love making results in Velutha’s premature death.
The couple’s relationship is also “frail”, just as the spider’s life is and as time goes by his life becomes more delicate, much like their relationship. Ammu and Velutha leave the “Big Things,” the realities of daily life, behind as this makes their lives easier to deal with. Sadly, even “Lord Rubbish” lives longer than Velutha which adds poignancy to the end of the novel. The writing in this chapter of the novel is poetic and rhythmic which creates a beautiful image of the love making between Ammu and Velutha.
This contrasts greatly to the hideously transformed images drawn up by Mammachi, “coupling in the mud… like animals”. Roy’s use of language also shows the danger the couple are placing themselves in through the affair. She shows how reckless Ammu is by describing her to be “feral” and describing her feeling of longing to have hit her “ike the sharp edge of a knife”. In conclusion, Roy employs a variety of narrative techniques to show the danger and poignancy of Ammu and Velutha’s love affair.
The last chapter is entitled “The Cost of Living,” which can be paraphrased as “Death. ” The author suggests that one can either live well at the risk of dying early, or live a long life that is unfulfilled. Ammu and Velutha live a vibrant, rich life together in secret before dying prematurely. Instead of being so concerned with the “Big Things” that they are trapped in unhappiness, they relish the “Small Things” and each other, eternally hopeful for “Tomorrow. “