What does the river symbolize in The God of Small Things

The God of Small Things In the novel The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy, the river stands out as a very important symbol. The book shows the river as a place has a significant use for the local people. Over the years, people have been urinating and defecating in it. Still, they bathe and ride on it. It smells very badly and it is a health risk for swimmers but still the owners of the nearby hotel call it Gods own country. Everything that is associated with the river is negative. The river symbolizes a lost sense of innocence and safety. The river used to be good before being polluted by the residents who use it for all sorts of reasons. This way, it is unfit to fulfill the roles it did when it was not polluted (Roy 44). This can be related to how Estha loses his innocence and safety when he is molested. The book supports that the life of the boy is disrupted such that he can never be the same as he was before (Roy 47). Just like the river cannot react against the pollution, Estha is helpless against his attacker. The novel confirms that the boy does not speak of the incident. Therefore, the river shows the helpless nature of the characters against the things that attack and ruin their lives. The effects are long lasting and may affect the quality of life just like the river is unfit for swimming or offering drinking water.The use of the river as a symbol is helpful in exposing the state of lives of some of the characters such as Estha. The state of the river reflects the state of their lives at the point of their difficulties. Works CitedRoy, Arundhati.The God of Small Things. New York: Random House,1997. Print.

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