Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

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Invitation to World Literature



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This photo shows a high-caste Brahmin family in India in the early 20th century. The girls' jewelry, the boy's uniform, and the fine clothing, neat hair, and confident expressions of all the family members proclaim their high status.
© 2010 JupiterImages Corporation
David Damrosch talks about this image
A low-caste man with his two children begs on the streets. While members of the lowest caste, the dalit or untouchables, may now cover their upper bodies in public (something previously reserved for higher-caste people), they often still live in a parallel world of poverty and rejection by the rest of society.
Image ©Dhoxax, 2010. Used under license from Shutterstock.com
Arundhati Roy, the author of The God of Small Things. Roy wrote the novel in the early 1990s, when she was unemployed and, as she puts it in the video episode on the Watch page of this site, trying to hide the fact that she was writing at all, so that no one could discourage her.
© 2010 Annenberg Media
Artist Rebecca Posner's imagining of Ammu, the doomed mother of twins Rahel and Estha, and lover of untouchable Velutha, in the novel.
Rebecca Posner
Posner's view of Baby Kochamma, the usurping matriarch of the Kochamma family, who ruins Ammu's life, forces Estha to betray his friend Velutha, and nurses her grudges against life in the old family home she grew up in.
Rebecca Posner
David Damrosch talks about this image
This is a Kathakali dancer; in the novel, Rahel goes to see a performance by these dancers. This is just one of the many vibrant costumes the dancers wear, at once beautiful and somehow forbidding.
Photographer's Choice/PunchStock.