Estha's female fraternal twin. Much of the story is told from Rahel's perspective as a seven-year-old girl and as a thirty-one-year-old woman. She has an instinctive connecton to Estha, and as a child she could share experiences and memories with him unconsciously. She grows up in Ayemenem but, as an adult, lives in the United States with her husband, Larry McCaslin. After their divorce and upon hearing of her brother's return to Ayemenem, Rahel goes home herself.
Rahel's male fraternal twin. His full name is Esthappen. After Sophie Mol's death, he is sent to live with his father, Babu, in Assam. At the age of thirty-one, he moves back to Ayemenem. Estha stopped talking one day when he was a child and has not said a word since. He is considered crazy by the other inhabitants of Ayemenem except for Rahel.
The daughter of Chacko and Margaret Kochamma. After her stepfather Joe dies, she visits Ayemenem with her mother. She has "Pappachi's nose," but otherwise she looks decidedly Western compared to the rest of the family, with her light eyes and skin. She drowns in the Ayemenem river. Her death and the events surrounding it serve as a focus of the novel.
Estha's and Rahel's mother. She married Babu in a glamorous ceremony, but she soon became disillusioned with their marriage because her husband was an alcoholic. After he tried to proposition her into sleeping with his boss, Ammu left Babu and settled back in Ayemenem with the twins. She has an affair with the Untouchable handyman, Velutha, so she is banished from her own house. She dies at the age of thirty-one while out of town on business.
Estha's and Rahel's father and Ammu's ex-husband. He is an alcoholic who is talked about but never seen in the novel. Estha lives with him when he works on a tea estate in Assam, but Babu cannot or will not take his son along to Australia.
Estha's and Rahel's blind grandmother. She is unhappily married to Pappachi, who beats her terribly until Chacko defends her. She plays the violin and generally keeps to herself, except when Ammu's and Velutha's affair is exposed.
Estha's and Rahel's grandfather. He beats Mammachi with a brass vase frequently, until Chacko forces him to stop. His prize in life is his sky-blue Plymouth. His biggest regret is not having the species of moth he discovered named after him.
Rahel's and Estha's grandaunt. She has a degree in ornamental gardening, but in her old age she simply watches television and writes in her diary. Her life's biggest regret is not winning the affections of a priest, Father Mulligan. Baby Kochamma has a vindictive and manipulative personality; she accuses Velutha of raping Ammu and then pressures Estha to confirm it.
Rahel's and Estha's uncle, and Mammachi's and Pappachi's only son. He was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, and he is now a Communist. He took over Paradise Pickles & Preserves from Mammachi. Chacko's marriage to Margaret Kochamma crumbled after she could no longer stand his flabby, lazy nature. Even though he is separated from his ex-wife and daughter, he feels a strong affinity for them.
An Untouchable Paravan who serves as a handyman for Ammu, Mammachi, and the rest of the family. He has a close relationship with Estha and Rahel, whom he treats lovingly but never condescendingly. He is the father figure they never had. Velutha has an affair with Ammu, rowing across the river to see her each night. After he is accused of raping Ammu and kidnapping the children, the police beat him nearly to death. They leave him to die in a prison cell, which he does, but not before Estha is tricked into confirming his guilt.
Velutha's father and an old, fond acquaintance of Mammachi. When he discovers Velutha's affair with Ammu, he goes to Mammachi immediately and offers to kill Velutha with his bare hands in retribution for the shame he thinks Velutha has brought to Mammachi's family.
Velutha's paralyzed brother. He helps Estha and Rahel figure out how to fix their boat.
A priest who is in Ayemenem when Baby Kochamma is a young woman. Despite her best efforts to impress him, Father Mulligan is not interested in Baby Kochamma. Eventually, he rejects the church to become a follower of Vishnu. He keeps in touch with Baby Kochamma until his death.
A tiny, pudgy house servant who, until the twins return, is the only other person living in the Ayemenem House with Baby Kochamma. She likes to watch wrestling on television and lives a sedentary lifestyle like her housemate.
Babu's boss at the Assam tea estate. He gives Babu an ultimatum: lose his job or send Ammu to sleep with Mr. Hollick. Babu's attempt to get Ammu to comply is the last straw for her and is what leads to their divorce.
Rahel's American ex-husband. He falls in love with and marries Rahel, but then he feels totally disconnected from her. Their marriage falls apart, and Rahel moves back to Ayemenem.
Margaret Kochamma's true love and Sophie Mol's stepfather. He dies in an accident, causing Margaret and Sophie to seek relief and refuge with their relatives in Ayemenem.
Leader of the Communist Party in Ayemenem. He has a very intelligent son named Lenin. Comrade Pillai does not like the fact that Velutha is a Communist, because he does not want to be allied with him. In fact, he turns Velutha away on the night of his death and is therefore the last to see him before the police beat him.
An elephant that sleeps in the temple while Rahel and Estha watch the Kathakali performance.
A homeless, insane person who crouches naked on the welcome sign for Cochin. He carries the keys to his last residence around his waist expectantly.
Orangedrink Lemondrink man
The man at the concessions stand in the lobby of Abhilask Talkies. He molests Estha in the lobby while the rest of the family is watching The Sound of Music. The incident haunts Estha well into his adulthood.
Inspector Thomas Mathew
The police inspector who interviews Baby Kochamma on the night Velutha dies. He is somewhat ambivalent about his men's practices of beating Untouchables nearly to death without having a substantiated reason.
The God of Small Things Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The God of Small Things is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
I think the most important message of the novel is about love and families, or maybe I should just say "unconditional love." What this story portrays is the fact that unconditional love isn't a requirement. Family members don't...
I think the concept of the untouchables is simply hate and human slavery veiled though the lens of religion. The untouchable caste was the lowest caste in Hindu religion. This low stature was used by higher castes to take advantage of them and...