Language And Style in The God Of Small Things By Arundhati Roy
Contemporary English fiction has attained international recognition and fame with the publications of numerous remarkable writers like Salman Rushdie, Vikram Sethi, Anita Desai, Shashi Deshpande, Amitav Ghosh, Rohinton Mistry, Jhumpa Lahiri, Kiran Desai and Arundhati Roy. Arundhati Roy, through her writing, seems to hold up a mirror to the society thereby portraying its reality in the true sense. She is predominantly modernist in her approach to language and style. It is more about how Arundhati Roy tells a story than what the story is. Her fresh and lively use of language, her poetic style, her command over both epigrammatic and lengthy sentences, coupled with a novel approach make both her novels masterpieces.
The novels are replete with picturesque descriptions of both places and people as well as sentences that are interrupted by short phrases and expressions. Both her novels are not told in a serialized manner; the narrative shifts from present to past and back to present frequently which may make the novel seem incoherent at places. Even after their death, people such as Sophie Mol are described with utmost detail and the novels are interspersed with scenes with scenes in which the dead are depicted as living. Another conspicuous character of her writing is to bring alive inanimate objects and abstract ideas such as night and silence. Roy also shows a tendency to capitalize certain words in the middle of the sentence for emphasis; a feature that is reminiscent of Emily Dickinson, who too, used random capitalizations in her poems for special emphasis. She seems to toy with words like an expert, changing their form, breaking them, italicising them, hyphenating them and capitalizing them. There are many single line paragraphs as well as single word sentences, each conveying more meaning in a very few words. She also makes a delightful use of similes and metaphors, comparing and equating even the most dissimilar things such as “history” and “smell” (Roy, 55).
Such comparisons make her writing more vivid and entertaining. There are instances where she uses phonetical sounds in place of words in order to emphasize on something important or bring out a certain impact through pronunciation. All these aforementioned characteristics used in an unconventional manner seem to add a poetic quality to her writings. While we are normally not as alert to the implications of language in fiction as in poetry, we cannot afford to ignore the use of language in the case of Arundhati Roy for it not only conveys the intent of the writer but also produces a desired effect on the reader.
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