Love as a Destructive Force - GoST

By: Harshida Mistry, Lydia Yu, and Madeline King

Activity - Skits


A destructive force is anything that is released to cause damage to property or lives, whether natural or man made.

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy is essentially a love story about a family who is destroyed by the Love Laws that governed their lives, actions, and emotions

An important theme within The God of Small Things is the “Love Laws” and what happens when they are broken. The “Love Laws” are the principles and standards of society that, however wrong, are so ingrained in the minds of the people that they feel more like laws of nature.

Romeo + Juliet (1996) - Official Trailer [SD]

“At Pappachi's funeral, Mammachi cried and her contact lenses slid around in her eyes. Ammu told the twins that Mammachi was crying more because she was used to him than because she loved him. (2)”

This is an example of duty-bound love. Mammachi doesn't especially love Pappachi, because he was nothing but awful to her yet for some reason it still affected her. Even though, Mammachi’s love was not pure love, it still caused her sadness.

“Frightened eyes and a fountain looked back at Ammu. "D'you know what happens when you hurt people?" Ammu said. "When you hurt people, they begin to love you less. That's what careless words do. They make people love you a little less." (112)

At this time Ammu shows to Rahel that a mother’s love is not always unconditional. This affects Rahel’s actions and thoughts throughout the story from then on like thinking she loves him a little less

“The original plan had been that Estha would sleep with Chacko, and Rahel with Ammu and Baby Kochamma. But now that Estha wasn't well and Love had been re-apportioned (Ammu loved her a little less), Rahel would have to sleep with Chacko, and Estha with Ammu and Baby Kochamma”. (26)

In Rahel's mind, Estha gets to sleep in Ammu's room not because he's sick, but because Ammu has started loving Rahel less. This is an example of how Rahel’s thoughts and perceptions of actions changed.

Estha nodded down at Ammu's face tilted up to the train window. At Rahel, small and smudged with station dirt. All three of them bonded by the certain, separate knowledge that they had loved a man to death. (210)

Ammu, Rahel, and Estha all loved Velutha when none of them were supposed to. His loss becomes all the more painful because if not for them, he probably wouldn't have died. It was because they loved Velutha that they involved him in their lives causing him to die

Estha always thought of Pectin as the youngest of three brothers with hammers, Pectin, Hectin and Abednego. He imagined them building a wooden ship in failing light and a drizzle. Like Noah's sons. He could see them clearly in his mind. Racing against time. The sound of their hammering echoing dully under the brooding, storm-coming sky. And nearby in the jungle, in the eerie, storm-coming light, animals queued up in pairs: Girlboy. Girlboy. Girlboy. Girlboy. Twins were not allowed. (43)

This shows how Estha's mind works. He seems to feel like his identity as a twin sets him apart from others, that it's reason enough for others to exclude him. Also an understanding of how the Love Law work between Estha and Rahel is shown. The two of them are a pair, but not one that society will allow to be together. This also foreshadows what will happen the future between the two.


Love is such a powerful and uncontrollable force that it cannot be contained by any conventional social code which was shown through the story. Also within the book, conventional society somehow seeks to destroy real love, which is why love in the novel is consistently connected to loss, death, and sadness.

Discussion Questions

What are some examples today or from the past of love being a destructive force?

How does religion connect to love as a destructive force?

When do you believe the Love Laws start and why?

How do other pieces of literature we have studied depict love as a destructive force?

How do the theories we've discussed connect to love as a destructive force? (Feminism, New Historicism, Psychoanalysis, and Marxism)