Character Analysis of Esthappen

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy


  • Esthappen Yako (but goes by Estha)
  • Twin brother of Rahel
  • Son of Ammu and Baba
  • After Sophie Mol's death, he is shipped off ("Returned") to live with his father.
  • When he is "re-Returned" to Ayemenem, he has become silent.

The events throughout Estha's young life continue to haunt him as an adult.


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"a) Anything can happen to Anyone.


b) It's best to be prepared" (186).

  • Lived by these two things
  • Ready to accept life

"Unwilling to seek refuge in fiction, Estha said nothing" (295).

  • Unlike most children, Estha accepts what haooens at face value

"As they lurched deeper into the water they began to row diagonally upstream, against the current, the way Velutha had taught them to" (276).

  • Followed instructions given to him
  • Does not veer off into other things

"’Are we going to become a communist?’ Rahel asked.

‘Might have to.’

Estha-the-practical" (191).

"Knowing him to be the more practical of the two. The more tractable. The more farsighted. The more responsible" (302).

  • Out of the two twins, Estha is the more reliable one
  • Matter of fact
  • Handles things calmy


"Estha had always been a quiet child" (12).

  • Even as a child, Estha was always the more quiet of the two
  • More intellectual

"The OrangeDrink LemonDrink Man could just walk in through the gauze doors. If he wanted to..." (188).

  • After his terrible experience in the movie theater, Estha is constantly aware that the Man cold come back
  • Event dramatically changed Estha's life and made him live cautiously

"Estha read aloud from the board on the wall...Ssenetilop. Ecneidebo. Ytlayol. Ecnegilletni. Ysetruoc. Ycneiciffe" (297).

  • Peculiar habit of reading things backwards
  • Shows his slightly different view on life than the rest of the world.


"Estha had always been a quiet child, so no one could pinpoint with any degree of accuracy exactly when...he had stopped talking" (12).

"Once the quietness arrived, it stayed and spread in Estha" (13).
  • Estha doesn't speak at all during his adult years
  • Events from his past could have affected him in such a way that he becomes silent

"He never bargained. They never cheated him" (13).

  • Estha is practical
  • Takes things the way they are

"After Khubchand died, Estha started his walking" (14).

  • Another peculiar habit is Estha's continuous and seemingly aimless walking
  • Represents how he feels lost

"Only Quietness and Emptiness fitted together like stacked spoons" (311).

  • Once again emphasizes Estha and Rahel's closeness
  • They are the only people who understand each other
  • Their extreme intimacy leads them to sleep together as a way to connect on an even higher level

Discussion Questions

  1. What are some of the possible explanations as to why Estha and Rahel are so close?
  2. What do you think happened to Estha later in life that caused him to go silent?
  3. Was it wrong for Estha and Rahel to commit such an intimate act?
  4. Do bad or good experiences have more of an impact on your life?
  5. What is the best way to handle a situation like Estha had with the OrangeDrink LemonDrink Man?
  6. How does parent separation affect development in a child?