Cognitive stylistics and petit recit: An examination of the narrative consciousness in the "God of Small Things".

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As has been pointed out be many critics, “God” in The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy functions as a metaphor for Velutha and becomes symptomatic of power relations that cut across the several binaries: man/woman, postcolonial,/ imperial, upper caste/lower caste, Hindu/ Christian, upper class/lower class resulting in notions of “big things ” and “small things ” which, one realizes as one reads the novel , acquire multiple meanings. The subversion of the “big things ” by the “small things ” is articulated by the variegated narrations of Rahel, who, in her own person, projects this dichotomy. She is one of a twin, a girl as opposed to her male twin and the narration through her consciousness is dualistic because it encompasses both her voice as a child and also as an adult creating a rich and complex narrative that confounds as it explicates lending itself to various interpretations. While there have been many interpretations of the novel both in terms of its themes and its language, and most critics praise Roy for painting a canvas that is both multihued and multilayered, and yet congealing into a harmonious whole, they have largely ignored the narrative voice of Rahel and the ambivalence that is projected through it. My paper is an attempt to unravel the plurality of the competing discourses through Cognitive Stylistics. I argue that the Derridean slippage that occurs in the novel is because of the different schemas of Rahel ‘s narrative as a child and as an adult. Cognitive stylistics therefore provides a useful tool in the analysis of the novel thereby affirming what is stated in the epigraph: “Never again will a single story be told as though it is only one.” ( The God of Small Things:1997).


Poetics & Lingguistics Association Conference (2011 July 4-8: Windhoek, Namibia)


PALA Conference, 2011, Windhoek, Poetics & Linguistics Association Conference, 2011, Windhoek, Roy, Arundhati, 1961-Present, Criticism and interpretation, Roy, Arundhati, 1961-Present. The God of Small Things, God of Small Things (Novel) - Criticism and interpretation, Cognitive stylistics, Derridean slippage, Post-colonial writing, Conferences and workshops, Book review