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Love Greater Than Caste? LoveEssay

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[. . .] " [p.265]

The love they felt for each other was too big a leap of faith for both of them. If they did what their hearts told them to do, they would be endangering centuries of social norms and socially constructed boundaries. But love was way too powerful to allow an issue like caste to keep the two separate for very long.

"He tried to hate her.

She's one of them, he told himself. Just another one of them.

He couldn't.

She had deep dimples when she smiled. Her eyes were always somewhere else.

Madness slunk in through a chink in history. It only took a moment." (p. 204)

Velutha wanted to believe that Ammu was just one of them. By one of them, he meant the haughty people of the upper class who had divided the society into castes. He wanted to hate her to divert his attention. But that was all too useless. His feelings for her were way too powerful and the same was the case with Ammu.

Even though she knew that this kind of union was totally inconceivable for the older people in her house, she still couldn't keep herself away from the magic and mystique of feelings that had consumed her. Her repressed feelings for love and affection haunt her at nights. She dreams of being in a relationship with a man and now with Velutha in picture, the relationship, at least the physical aspect, seems all too real.

"That afternoon, Ammu traveled upwards through a dream in which a cheerful man with one arm held her close by the light of an oil lamp. He had no other arm with which to fight the shadows that flickered around him. Shadows that only he could see." (p. 205)

That man in the dream was Velutha and those shadows were the ghosts of caste that hovered over their forbidden union. Velutha was well aware of the problems and so was Ammu but while Velutha was hesitant, Ammu had been weakened by years of loneliness and thus accepted change more easily. The two would meet at a secluded place across the river. Ammu had to take a boat to get there and the effort she had to make to sneak out of her house and pedal across the river reveals the power of her feelings for Velutha. In the case of these two young people, love was far more important than any caste barriers.

"Leaving a boat-shaped path of bare dry earth, cleared and ready for love. As though Esthappen and Rahel had prepared the ground for them. Willed this to happen. The twin midwives of Ammu's dream."(p. 318)

Lying on that patch, Ammu and Velutha took a step into the unthinkable. They knew they could be killed and brutally so, if they were ever discovered. And as senseless as it may sound, not only were they discovered, they were discovered by Velutha's father who out of his loyalty to Mammachi, tell her of the incident he had witnessed. That was at first unbelievable and later, still too disgusting for Mammachi to even think about. Caste was far more important to her than her daughter or her love affair. Unfortunate but true, Mammachi couldn't see the youth of her daughter being withered away by pressing cares. She did not even allow her a chance to explain herself or to defend Velutha but immediately sent police to hunt down Velutha.

Velutha was finally hunted down and brutally killed in public. But according to the elders in the house, the price they had to pay was nothing compared to the enormity of their sin. To this, the author responds in these words:

"The cost of living climbed to unaffordable heights, though later Baby Kochamma would say it was a Small Price to Pay.

Was it?

Two lives. Two children's childhoods.

And a history lesson for future offenders." (p. 318)

Thus caste triumphed over love. For Ammu nothing was more important than her feelings for Velutha but the power of their love couldn't make the caste difference disappear. Velutha was killed for having the courage to fall in love with a woman from higher caste while Ammu died tragically because she couldn't think of a life without Velutha, and without love.

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