Dynamics of Twin Relationships

Rohan Panaparambil, Nishad Khamankar


Identity Issues

  • inability or neglect of people to distinguish between the twins
  • treated like a unit instead of as individuals
  • bond between twins excludes others
  • think of themselves as a pair
  • try to become different from the twin
  • ambivalence towards twin

Constant Comparison

  • twins compete among themselves
  • others label twins
  • twins strive to fit roles
  • try to exaggerate differences

Companionship in Life

  • always have someone
  • twins understand each other better than anybody else
  • set expectations for others to do the same

Sharing vs Mine

  • need for exact equality between both twins
  • "you cut, I'll pick"
Are you wearing lipstick?

Interactive Activity

Select one partner. They will be your "twin."

  1. What is your twin's favorite color?
  2. What is your twin's favorite TV show?
  3. What is your twin's favorite sport?
  4. What did your twin do last weekend?
  5. When did your twin go to sleep last night (or this morning)?


"Rahel had come to see her brother, Estha. They were two-egg twins. "Dizygotic" doctors called them. Born from separate but simultaneously fertilized eggs. Estha – Esthappen – was the older by eighteen minutes" (Roy 4).
"In those early amorphous years when memory had only just begun, when life was full of Beginnings and no Ends, and Everything was Forever, Esthappen and Rahel thought of themselves together as Me, and separately, individually, as We or Us. As though they were a rare breed of Siamese twins, physically separate, but with joint identities" (Roy 4).

"Now, all these years later, Rahel has a memory of waking up one night giggling at Estha's funny dream.

She has other memories too that she has no right to have.

She remembers, for instance (though she hadn't been there), what the Orangedrink Lemondrink Man did to Estha in Abhilash Talkies. She remembers the taste of the tomato sandwiches – Estha's sandwiches, that Estha ate – on the Madras Mail to Madras" (Roy 5).

"Two little ones, instead of one big one. Twin seals, slick with their mother's juices. Wrinkled with the effort of being born. Ammu checked them for deformities before she closed her eyes and slept. She counted four eyes, four ears, two mouths, two noses, twenty fingers and twenty perfect toe-nails.

She didn't notice the single Siamese soul" (Roy 40).
"Rahel never wrote to him. There are things that you can't do – like writing letters to a part of yourself. To your feet or hair. Or heart" (Roy 156).

Discussion Questions

  1. How would Rahel and Estha’s relationship have been different if they were identical twins, or not twins at all?
  2. How would Rahel and Estha have been seen differently by others had they not been twins?
  3. How did Rahel and Estha’s being twins affect their story?
  4. How are Rahel and Estha different or similar to siblings from other books we have read this year? (Gregor and Grete, the Mirabal sisters, Samneric)
  5. How does treatment of twins by others affect them?


The special relationship between Rahel and Estha is apparent throughout The God of Small Things. They share thoughts, feelings, and ideas and are viewed differently by others due to their relationship. Though it makes their childhood unique, Rahel and Estha’s relationship acts as a hindrance throughout their late adolescence and adulthood due to the fact that they were split apart. They are shown to be two parts of the same person, though not all twins are like that, so their relationship is especially unique.

Works Cited

Roy, Arundhati. The God of Small Things. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2008. Print.

"Twins Realm - Twin Troubles." Twins Realm - Twin Troubles. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 May 2013.