Written by Arundhati Roy, this chapter is an extract from the author's first novel, "The God of Small Things". The story revolves around the life of Pappachi and his wife Mammachi and their children Chacko and Ammu. Pappachi is an imperial entomologist who is abusive with his family, unknown to outsiders.
Pappachi discovered a new species of moth, but his discovery was dismissed and credited to someone else. This incident enrages Pappachi, and he vents his anger on his family. He feels jealous of his wife's talents and often abuses her physically and verbally to discredit her. Mammachi being the dutiful wife, never opposes or protests against her husband's actions and accepts them silently. Pappachi would beat Mammachi with a bronze flower vase every night. His cause of jealousy was Mammachi's flourishing business of jams and pickles. At the same time, Pappachi was at the age of retirement. One day Chacko, a Rhodes scholar, returns home and finds Pappachi beating Mammachi again.
He decides to defend Mammachi and warns Pappachi to never hurt Mammachi again. Pappachi broke a rocking chair in a fit of anger, unable to vent his anger on his wife. From that point on, he never raised his hand or talked to Mammachi till his death. Even at his death, Mammachi was grief-stricken and cried. After Pappachi's death, Chacko moved back to his home and managed Mammachi's pickle business with her.
The entire incident narrated above is presented as a memory in the story. Pappachi's moth is the object of misery for all family members and evokes bitterness and fear in their mind. The story presents the themes of patriarchy and the mentality of superiority. The title of the story symbolises the fear everyone feels in the story, in particular, the fear Rahel feels.
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