Family Dynamics

Megan Allen, Joy Kim, Ashlyn Singer


Family dynamics are the ways family members interact with each other and how a family is structured. These include family roles, personalities and behaviors of family members, and family values. Traditions, emotional interdependence, and communication styles all affect the dynamics within a family.
"Modern Family" Trailer


Take a minute to think about your family. What makes your family unique? How do your relationships between your siblings/parents affect you? How have your relationships and experiences with your shaped your life?


Sibling Relationship

One of the most prominent examples of family dynamics in The God of Small Things, is the relationship between Estha and Rahel.

"In those early amorphorous years when memory had only just begun... Esthappen and Rahel thought of themselves together as Me, and separately, individually, as We or Us. (Roy 10)"

"As though they were a rare breed of Siamese twins, physically seperate, but with joint identities. (Roy 10)"

They were the same person, connected by their personalities and minds. This is a special and unique relationship, that allows them to be closer to each other. However, their relationship progresses beyond a traditional "sibling" relationship into a more intimate relationship.

Spouse Relationship

Marriage in this culture was seen as a more cultural obligation, than a loving relationship. Often times, the man would simply marry the woman because of the promise of a dowry and the woman would simply agree becasue there were no other options.

"Suddenly he lunged at her, grabbed her hair, punched her and then passed out from the effort. (Roy 41)"

"Every night he beat her with a brass flower vase. The beatings weren't new. What was new was only the frequency with which they took place. (Roy 46)"

Men took out their anger on their wives, and the wives couldn't do anything about it, becasuse domestic abuse was a common accepted practice. Divorce was also frowned apon in their society, and this was shown with Ammu and Chacko.

Parental Relationship

The parental roles of the mothers in each of these families shown in this book are very strong. Even though in many cases seen, a father figure, or traditional father figure was absent, the mother role was strong.

"Chacko was Mammachi's only son. Her own grief grieved her. His devastated her. (Roy 12)"

"Ammu watched over them fiercely. Her watchfulness stretched her, made her taut and tense, She was quick to reprimand her children, but even quicker to take offense on their behalf. (Roy 42)"

The relationship that the mothers had with their children shows the deep love that they were capable of giving, even in the midst of abuse, neglect, and abandonment.


Family plays a major role in the development of children, and influences them for the rest of their life. The dynamics of a family will be the foundation that a child has for the rest of their life which is extremely important. Having positive family dynamics keeps peaceful interactions between family members and creates a solid foundation for later life. Families that don't maintain positive relationships with each other tend to break apart and set bad examples for the people within the family.

Discussion Questions

1. How would Rahel's family dynamics be different if they were in a western society?

2. How does the incest between the characters reflect upon their values of family dynamics?

3. What are some examples of family dynamics in today's society that are similar to the ones in the novel?

4. How have family dynamics affected characters in other novels we have read such as Fahrenheit 451 and The Metamorphosis?

5. How have family dynamics changed over time? How did these changes affect society?

Works Cited