Arundhati Roy’s 1997 novel, “The God of Small Things” tells of the memories and experiences of two children in India and how cutlure, laws and society shape them. It is the small things that govern their lives, the rainfall, the songs of musicals, the low-caste friends.
The notion of small things governing our lives is a strong them of narrative and theology. Western complex has long been with strength and individuation, but eastern thinking has always been about the god in nature and life. Hebrew teaching from which Christianity sprang is an eastern faith and although God is not equated with natural phenomenon, God works in and through small characters and small occasions to work history together. In the 4th century AD Augustine, Bishop of Hippo wrote this about the incarnation.
Man’s maker was made man,
that He, Ruler of the stars, might nurse at His mother’s breast;
that the Bread might hunger,
the Fountain thirst,
the Light sleep,
the Way be tired on its journey;
that the Truth might be accused of false witness,
the Teacher be beaten with whips,
the Foundation be suspended on wood;
that Strength might grow weak;
that the Healer might be wounded;
that Life might die.
– Augustine of Hippo (Sermons 191.1)