The God of Small Things

It’s Always “Ten to Two” Somewhere: Time in The God of Small Things College

Perception of time plays a peculiar role in The God of Small Things, serving both as linear force, dragging the plot along with it, and as a proverbial tar pit, ensnaring and preserving a moment and time. The entire Kochamma family seems stuck in the latter; their ideology of familial superiority no longer matching their present circumstances by the end of the novel. In this way, the Kochamma family’s fall from grace can be viewed as a divergence of Time and Perception of Time, with Time carrying India towards the revolution of modernity and Perception holding the Kochamma family firmly in the past, clinging onto the ghosts of former glory in a vain attempt to maintain a reputation of power and means.

The first indicator of the Kochamma family’s apprehension of time is the non-linear way in which the novel is written, forcing mention of past success as if to offset the steadily lowering fortune of the family. With reoccurring pseudo-flashbacks, each of the elder Kochammas finds solace from the fear of the present by reminiscing and dwelling in the past. Chacko does so with his days as a Rhodes scholar at Oxford, pining for Margaret yet content in his suffering. Baby Kochamma is left yearning for the yesteryears of prosperity...

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