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  • RK Narayan's novel was based on the selfish journey of Railway Raju, a man who cheats himself and all those who surround him for reasons best known to him and in the end turns into a demi-God who ironically sacrifices himself for an illusory cause of others. Through the journey of Railway Raju, the lives of Rosie, Gaffur, Marco and Raju's mother are unveiled and also the fictitious town of Malgudi, which is ever present in all R K Narayan novels, is depicted in full splendor.
  • There are certain elements which every novel has and these are:
  • plot
  • setting
  • characterisation
  • theme
  • style and presentation.
  • Plot
  • This is what happens in the novel, it's the author's arrangement of the story.
  • Key points to note:
- there can be a logical development of events with a careful linking of scenes or
- there can be a series of apparently unrelated scenes which are not shown to be connected until the end of the novel - there should be a beginning, a middle and an end
- the plot should be plausible, but there can still be room for the element of surprise
- there should be conflict, either within the central characters or between characters, or between characters and their environment
- the climax of the story is the highest point of interest; the moment when the conflict is most intense; the time when the consequences of a character's actions become inevitable; when all the main points of the plot merge
- the denouement is when all the little mysteries in the plot are revealed and all the loose ends are tidied up
- the pace of the novel slows with the denouement.
  • Subplot
  • This is a sequence (or sequences) of events that parallels the main plot; it can closely resemble the main plot or it can diverge in significant ways in order to highlight the main plot.
  • Setting
  • The setting of a novel encompasses a number of different, but linked, elements:
  • time - day or night; summer or winter; the historical period (an actual date)
  • place - inside or outside; country or city; specific town and country; real or fictional
  • social - the minor characters who take little part in advancing the plot, but whose presence contributes to the realism of the novel
  • mood and atmosphere - eerie; dangerous; menacing; tense; threatening; relaxing; nostalgic; happy; light-hearted etc.
  • Characterisation
  • Characters in a novel are the vehicles by which the author conveys to us his / her view of the world.
  • Key points to note:
- we learn about individual characters from their own words and actions; from what other characters say about them and the way others act towards them
- characters help to advance the plot
- believable characters must grow and change in response to their experiences in the novel.
  • Theme
  • This is the central idea which runs through the novel; the author's purpose in writing.
  • Key points:
- it is the point of view from which the author is writing and there may be a moral to the story - such as the need for social reform in many of Dickens' novels
- the theme gives the story focus, unity, impact and a 'point'’
- the theme becomes clear by looking at what happens to the major characters. If the main character survives while others don't, it shows us that his (or her) behaviour is being rewarded by the author
  • Symbols
  • These are often used to help clarify a theme and can be anything from a single object (a key, a necklace, a stone); a place (the beach, an airport, a house); a repeated type of object (a dark car, a woman in sunglasses, an eagle flying overhead); a shape (diamonds, circles, crucifixes); a gesture (wiping glasses, lighting a pipe, a hand in a pocket); a colour; a sound; a piece of music, poetry; to a fragrance (the smell of new-mown grass, cigar smoke).
- symbols are used to give intangible ideas and emotions a visibility and solidity that makes the reader notice them
- symbols can help to give unity to the plot - a recurring symbol is used to link different events and characters
  • Irony
  • This is the revelation of the unexpected consequences of actions and words.
- irony can add interest, humour and impact to the novel
- it can give depth to characters, tighten the plot, help to define the characters and contribute to our understanding of the author's theme.
  • Style
  • This is the way the story is written.
  • There are four main ways a story can be presented (and countless combinations of these):
  • the central character tells the story in his / her own words
  • a non-central character tells the story
  • the author refers to all characters in the third person, but reveals only what can be seen, heard or thought by a central character
  • the author refers to each character in the third person and describes what most or all of the characters see, hear and think; the author can also describe events which do not concern any of the characters
  • The author can adopt:
- a subjective point of view, which means he / she judges and interprets the characters for the reader
- or an objective view, in which the author presents events and allows the reader to make judgements
- an author can use 'flash-backs' to fill in background
  • Language
  • The language used by the author also reveals the theme and purpose of the novel:
- the complexity of sentence and paragraph structure; the use of humour, satire and irony; imagery and other poetic devices and word choice all contribute to our appreciation of the characters and events which involve them
- the reader can be left totally unconcerned about the fate of characters or can shed tears when some tragic end overtakes them.
  • ALWAYS quote from the novel to illustrate and support your main points. You're not expected to memorize large sections of the novel, but it's easy to remember short quotations in a novel. For example, when writing about a novel like Animal Farm, instead of using your own words to describe the way the pigs gradually seize control of the farmyard revolution, you could quote the change in the seventh commandment from: "All animals are equal" at the beginning of the revolution to: "All animals are equal but some are more equal than others" at the end.

  • R. K. Narayan: The Guide: A Study Guide (1958)

  • Rasipuram Krishnaswamy Narayan (1906-2001) is unusual among Indian authors writing in English in that he has stayed contentedly in his home country, venturing abroad only rarely. He rarely addresses political issues or tries to explore the cutting edge of fiction. He is a traditional teller of tales, a creator of realist fiction which is often gentle, humorous, and warm rather than hard-hitting or profound. Almost all of his writings are set in the fictional city of Malgudi, and are narrowly focused on the lives of relatively humble individuals, neither extremely poor nor very rich.
  • The Guide is one of his most interesting books, which begins as a comic look at the life of a rogue, but evolves into something quite different. It should be noted that Narayan is not a devout Hindu, and has accused Westerners of wrongly supposing that all Indians are deeply spiritual beings; but it is also true that he was deeply impressed by some experiences he had with a medium after the sudden death of his young wife (described movingly in The English Teacher (1945).
  • Narayan has stated that the incident of the reluctant holy man was based on a real event which he read about in the newspaper.

  • Chapter One
  • Why do you think Narayan chooses such an unusual way to introduce us to Raju? An anna is a very small coin. A maharaja is a traditional Indian prince. After the barber announces that Raju looks like a maharaja, the narrative takes an abrupt turn into the past. The incident of the villager who has come to consult with him in the next paragraph happened long ago.
  • Narayan further complicates the narrative flow by glancing forward to a time when he will tell this villager, named Velan, his life story, which brings him to Rosie, who will be introduced into the novel later. He then abruptly springs back into the distant past to briefly tell the story of his childhood and then return to Velan and his problem. Note the blank lines he has inserted in the narrative to mark the points at which the setting changes.
  • Explain the title of the novel. Traditional Indian temple dancers were dedicated to dancing for the gods, particularly Krishna. However, they also traditionally supported themselves through prostitution, and temple-dancing was eventually suppressed. Modern "classical dancers" are often highly respectable women who practice the art out of devotion to dance rather than religion. Look for passages in the novel which portray both negative and positive images of such dancers. "Betel leaf" is the mild stimulant chewed by many Indians and wrongly called "betel nut" because it is often served wrapped around an areca nut. "Parched gram" is roasted lentils, a staple in India. The pyol is a sort of front stoop where Indians often visit with neighbors and watch the world going by. Tamil is one of the many important languages of India, especially common in the south. Narayan has depicted himself as a poor student and a rebellious son, a self-portrait he has repeated over and over from Swami and Friends (1935) forward. What attracts the boy Raju more than his lessons?
  • The story told about the Buddha is one of the most common lessons attributed to him; but would not necessarily be widely known by Indians, few of whom are Buddhists. What is its meaning? How do you think Raju is able to predict what Velan will say when he begins discussing his troubles? Note that Velan wants to treat Raju as a saint: a theme that will recur later in the novel. Why does Raju hope the girl is uninteresting? Jewelry is a necessity for any woman in India: a form of bank account and a sign of respectability. Thefts of such jewelry are quite rare. //Idli// are small steamed cakes of ground rice and fermented lentils, usually eaten for breakfast. Raju is posing as a holy man. How good is he at it?
  • Another flashback returns us to his childhood for a few pages. Fermented lime-pickle, intensely sour, is a favorite Indian condiment, or chutney. What do we learn about his character from this story? Can you see any qualities that he may have inherited from his father? The fact that he never heard the end of the story about Devaka may foreshadow the end of his own story. Devaka was the grandfather of the god Krishna on his mother's side.
  • "Transmigration" means reincarnation, another life. How useful is Raju's message to Velan?

  • Chapter Two
  • We now return to Raju's childhood. Recitation aloud is the traditional method of education. What kind of school does he attend? Jaggery is a brown crystalline sweetener made from the sap of the kitul palm.
  • Raju interrupts the story of his education to return to Velan. A "partition suit" would be a lawsuit involving property lost in the division ("partition") of India at independence, when Pakistan was created out of the northern regions. Marriage with cousins is not uncommon. Almost all weddings are planned with the advice of astrologers. Why does he gain such a reputation as wise man ( yogi )? A "great soul" is a mahatma, the title given to Mohandas K. Gandhi. What do you think are Raju's real motives for seeking isolation and quiet? Note Raju's fear that Velan might suppose that he didn't need food. In fact in the last and holiest stage of a Hindu mystic's life he should voluntarily starve to death. Temples are everywhere in India; it is not at all implausible that someone should show up and announce himself as priest of an abandoned one. There is no formal priesthood, no systematic way to become a holy man: one merely earns the respect and veneration of other worshipers. A plantain is a large, firm, rather bland relative of the banana: a very cheap source of nourishment. What indication is there that the boy is not awed by Raju?

  • Chapter Three
  • We return again to the narrative of his childhood. Bagpipes were introduced into India by the British, and often played at festive official events. The coconuts are broken on the tracks as an act of sacrifice, but there is also an analogy to smashing a bottle of champagne on the prow of a new ship when it is launched. A jutka is a modest horse-drawn taxi. "Horse gram" is grain to feed the horse. Raju was exposed to fraud early in his life. What effect do you think it had on him?

  • Chapter Four
  • Back to "the present." Describe Raju's thoughts and behavior during the negotiations with the schoolmaster. The Ramayana is the traditional epic of the heroic deeds of the god Rama, the most popular collection of stories in India.
  • Again we go back into Raju's childhood. "Biscuits" are baked goods like cookies, rather than what Americans call biscuits. What skills did Raju learn while working in the station shop?
  • His own exceedingly informal education provides the background for the next scene, where he "teaches" the children. Why does Raju urge independent thought on his listeners. What effects do the villagers' belief in him have on Raju?

  • Chapter Five
  • Again we return to Raju's youth. Why do you think the novel alternates between the story of Raju's career as a guru and his earlier life? How did he become a guide? What are his opinions of travelers? Parvathi (more commonly "Parvati") is the consort of the god Shiva. According to this legend, she would have voluntarily leapt into a fire, creating the source of the Sarayu River, which flows into the Ganges. This is not a common story about Parvathi. Can you tell me whether Narayan is just making it up? What kind of guide is he? What sorts of techniques does he use? Note how casually Rosie is introduced into the story, long after we have been told about her influence on Raju's life. The dhoti is a common loose, baggy cloth used as trousers by men. A jibba is a sort of shirt. Cobras are actually deaf: what they react to is the swaying of the been , the snake-charmer's instrument here called a "flute." It is actually a rather nasal-sounding reed instrument with a gourd at one end to develop the sound. A tout is a sort of go-between who arranges and promotes business. How does Raju's passion for Rosie develop? Traditional Indian housewives cook and serve while the men eat, then eat their own food afterwards. "Lead, Kindly Light" is the title of a popular hymn. Why did Rosie marry her husband? Adhobi is a laundry. Note that at the time this novel was written Raju's persistence at the end of the chapter would not have been viewed as negatively as it might be today.

  • Chapter Six
  • Back to the village temple. Dasara (also called Dussehra or Durga Puja) is devoted to the powerful goddess Durga. Deepavali (now usually called Divali ) is the annual festival celebrating the return of the sun after the rainy season, very popular all over Hindu India and celebrates the victory of Rama over Ravana. Since Durga is a famous demon-slayer, both are festivals celebrating victories over demons. More information on Dasara.More information on Deepavali. How is Raju being affected by his life as a holy man? Swamiji: "-ji" is an honorific suffix. The villagers are not as unusually superstitious as one might suppose; many Westerners wondered in the fifties whether jet planes and nuclear bomb tests might have altered the weather. What are the main effects of the drought? Raju got the idea of threatening a fast in order to stop the fighting from Mahatma Gandhi, who put an end to violent conflicts during the struggle for independence by fasting nearly to death. How is his threat transformed? When Velan says "We derive merit from watching your face" he is alluding to the Hindu belief indarshan, according to which witnessing holy objects or persons is a spiritual blessing. Velan's description of the proper procedures for Raju to follow are those used by the real holy man on whose story this novel is based.Sadhu: holy man. Why doesn't Raju run away? At the end of the chapter we learn how Raju came to be telling Velan the story which makes up the rest of this novel.

  • Chapter Seven
  • Jawaharlal Nehru, close associate of Gandhi in the struggle for independence, was India's first prime minister (1947-1964) . Who do you think is most to blame for Rosie's unhappiness? Why? Why do you think Raju has not referred to her dancing again? Nataraja is an incarnation of the creator/destroyer God Shiva, who danced the world into existence. More information about Nataraja. Why does he encourage her dancing? A pundit is a scholar. The Ramayana and the Mahabharata are the two classical epics of Hinduism, filled with tales often enacted by dancers. The main theme of temple dancing is love for a god, expressed in the metaphors of human love between woman and man. This is why Rosie says "Lover means always God"--in this case Krishna, who was born as a human and passed through all the stages of mortal life. What is the effect of her dancing on Raju? What are "Marco's" attitudes toward his wife? What do you think has happened to change Rosie's behavior toward Raju? When Raju talks about suffering "the usual symptoms," what is he referring to? A "tank" is a reservoir such as all Hindus like to have nearby for bathing, washing clothes, etc. According to one legend, the River Ganges tried to destroy the god Shiva, but he absorbed it into his hair.
  • Discuss Raju's mother's reactions to Rosie and how they change. What was Marco's reaction to Rosie's desire to dance? Othello murdered his wife Desdemona out of (mistaken) jealousy. What does Rosie mean by saying "I thought that Othella was kindlier to Desdemona?" What does Raju's mother think is the solution to dealing with problematic husbands? Savitri succeeded in persuading Yama, the god of death, to restore her husband Satyavan to life. She is the archetype of the devoted wife in Hindu mythology. Just as most students in Narayan's fiction do poorly in school, most of his businessmen go bankrupt. Saithan: devil.

  • Chapter Eight
  • What conflicting feelings does Raju's mother have toward Rosie? A godown is a sort of warehouse. What is Raju's reaction to his legal problems? Note how the power of the extended Indian family sweeps over the individual when Raju's uncle arrives. Pan or Paan is betel leaf wrapped around areca nut, the habitual stimulant of many Indians. "Quit" means "leave." Meena Kumari was a Hindi film star famous for her dancing. It is as if an American actress of the fifties were trying to choose a stage name and her boyfriend suggested "Marilyn Monroe"--hardly original, or practical. Note how Rosie's artistry overcomes the doubts of the Union officials. Temple-dancing was still struggling to overcome its negative reputation.

  • Chapter Nine
  • What effect does it have to alternate the story of Raju's success with Rosie with his troubles as a holy man in the village? Why isn't his life story in strict chronological order? How does Raju react to Rosie's success? Saraswathi is a goddess of knowledge and scholarship. Her image is often placed in libraries. Sabha: village council . How does Raju's tendency to simply forget about troublesome issues complicate his life? What do you make of Rosie's change in attitude toward Marco? //Karma// is fate.

  • Chapter Ten
  • Brinjals are eggplants. Which of Raju's personality traits are manifested in prison? What affect does his imprisonment have on Rosie/Nalini?

  • Chapter Eleven
  • Finally the narrative times fuse together as Raju finishes telling the story of his life to Velan. What effect does it produce to have this chapter follow the story of his disaster with Nalini? How is Raju changed by his fast? Why does the anti-malaria film fail to deliver its intended message? What do you think of the end of the novel? Is it ambiguous? What tone do you think it has: sad, comic, tragic . . . ? What evidence is there that Raju is deluded at the end?

  • Notes by Paul Brians, Department of English, Washington State University, Pullman 99164-5020.
  • Conflicting reading of The Guide- A critical study: Journal of Literature, Culture and Media Studies Vol.-I Number 2 q Winter q July-December 2009
This research article is a criticism of William Walsh’s criticism of The Guide. Walsh says about the theme of The Guide : (p.114)
“The complex association of sincerity and self-deception is indeed the organizing theme of The Guide It seems that the European critic has failed to understand Indian ethos. Raju, the protagonist first becomes a tourist guide and then spiritual guide due to circumstances peculiar to India. He undertakes fast due to the demand of the villagers. He was mistaken for a sadhu first. The secret of Narayan‘s success in this novel is Raju’s transformation ; he really becomes a holyman when he transcends his ‘limited self’. In this connection C.D. Narasimhaiah says:
The saviour was expected to stand in knee-deep water, look to the skies and utter the prayer for two weeks completely fasting during the period – and to the rains would come down , provided the man who performed it was a pure soul. The whole countryside was now in a happy ferment, because a great soul had agreed to go through the trial. The earnestness with which he spoke brought tears to Raju’s eyes. Raju himself had spoken of such penance, its value and technique. (p.139)
Narasimhaiah ‘s criticism seems to be more authentic than Walsh‘s views. Our Indian critic works with certain concepts-‘ a great soul ’, ‘penance’ rituals and ‘prayer’. What is most puzzling for a Western critic is Raju’s transformation from a sinner to saint. Narasimhaiah says :But with all his limitations Raju is a rich and complex life-achieving integration at last. It is worthwhile studying this singular success of The novelist’s creation. It is obviously not very easy to make a saint out of a sinner, especially with a comic view of life (p.135)
Western critics are either skeptical or satirical about the Indian concept of ‘holyman’ or Swami. Though Walsh has tried to compare the Christian and the Indian concept in the matter of transformation of Raju‘s character, it seems to be vague. He says: When one speaks in the Western terms of transformation of character that has the approval of gods, one thinks either in the catholic way of sin and guilt overcome by grace, or in the protestant way of a deformed will corrected by it. In each case, intention, contradiction, sincerity, responsibility, emendations are entailed. But in the transformation in the Eastern tale, the personality is relatively passive; the source of change is outside the psyche in some mysterious law of nature. (p. 132)
I would like to differ from Walsh as the source of change in Raju’s character is not outside the psyche. An Indian critic can only understand Raju’s passivity which emanates from a fatalistic attitude. One surrenders one’s will to God’s will or ‘Diavechha’ when ‘moha’ is over. Then the pull between the two opposites evaporate and a state of serenity is experienced. According to The Gita, the source of the material world consists of the three qualities of satva, rajas and tamas. Narayan’s protagonist Raju gradually loses the lower qualities – ‘tamasic guna’and ‘rajasic guna’. He attains ‘satvic guna’ in the last phase of his life. Earlier his tamasic gunas and rajasic gunas made him a tourist guide, Rosie’s lover and stage-manager. I do not agree with Walsh’s criticism. “Raju is an Indian specification of that type (like many of Narayan’s protagonist) in whom character hangs in certain formlessness. ”(p.117)
It is wrong for him to consider Raju to be projection of other person’s desires. Whatever may be the suggestion or hint from any one, the character works according to his gunas. Raju’s fascination for Rosie is also born of his tamasic gunas and rajasic gunas.
Narasimhaiah has explained the mystery of Raju’s phoenix like rising from the ashes (metaphorically). He observes : And the ending is smooth and inevitable. India’s undying faith in God and goodness , holymen and miracles is here rendered quite credible by the novelist’s art even to the skeptical and questioning eye. Here is India from inside. Raju is India itself its astonishing power and deep inner reserves to revitalize itself and work its way to fulfillment for like the fabled phoenix he rises from his own ashes. (p.141)
Ranga Rao, an Indian critic deviating from the pantheon of Western critic works with certain Indian philosophical concepts. He says : Narayan continues the education of his ‘rajashic’ hero. Raju rises from petty shop-keeper to a ‘man of consequence’. Like Margaya in The Financial Expert, he is also a man possessed : ‘I was man with a mission’, when his balloon is pricked by his own hand, and he crashes. Raju redeems himself, more spectacularly then Margayya. (p.79)

It has been rightly said that a saint has a past and the sinner future. We are familiar with the myth of Ratnakar, a robber turning into a saint. To quote Narasimhaiah from his lecture ( ‘An Inquiry into the the Indianness of English Literature ’) “Here, surely , we learn to repeat saying that ‘Don’t ask the past of a saint’. Indian tradition is so full of evidence that we love to echo it in Raju’s case”. (p.33)
Let me quote M.K. Naik now to illustrate that oral tradition of narrative existed in ancient India : One of the most notable gifts of English education to India is prose fiction, for though India was probably the fountain head of story-telling , the novel as we know the form today was an importation from the West . Sanskrit literature , of course , did have a tradition of prose fiction of which Dandin’s Dasa Kumara Charita, Subhandhu’s Vasava dutta and Bana Bhatta’s Kadambari are noted examples. ( p.99)

R . K. Narayan as a story-teller has followed the heritage of Sanskrit literature to some extent. An ex-convict narrates the story of his own life to his disciple . The second part of Raju’s life has been narrated by the novelist. The narrative technique is western , though the first part uses the oral form of story-telling in the form of autobiography.

A post colonial reading of The Guide can act like a double-edged sword . Firstly , R.K. Narayan , an insider gives an authentic view of Indian life . Secondly, an Indian critic’s nationalism is a kind of ‘resistance ’to the views of western critics. B.K. Das says, Post colonial theory claims that the major theme of literature from postcolonial countries can be taken as resistance to the former colonizer . It further assumes that the writers who write back to the centre are presenting the people of their society authentically. (p.135).

It seems that Narayan is gently satirizing the western influences on Indian life. Raju laughs at Marco for his dress and physical appearance. It is difficult for him to believe that his romantic heroine’s name is Rosie. So he transformed her into Nalini. Raju says: Why did she call herself Rosie ? She did not come from foreign land. She was just an Indian, who should have done well with Devi, Meena, Lalitha, or any one of the thousand names we have in our country. She chose to call herself Rosie. Don’t imagine on hearing her name that she wore a short skirt or cropped up her hair. She looked just the orthodox dancer that she was. She wore saris of bright hues and gold lace, had curly hair which she braided and be flowered, wore a diamond-earrings and a heavy gold necklace. (p.9)

The two proper names Rosie and Marco have negative connotations. Perhaps the name ‘Rosie’ was chosen by her Devdasi mother to delink her from traditional society. The Indian mind set is such that the name Rosie for a Bharat Natyam dancer will not be acceptable ; so her name is changed into “Nalini”. It may also be mentioned that ‘Marco’ . is not the real name of the scholarly husband of Rosie. The research scholar with his Eurocentric culture has been satirized. To Raju, he appears to be a space traveler or astronaught. Raju shows the western influence when he goes against the society and keeps Rosie as a mistress in his home. In Indian life, society is of supreme importance and certain restrictions are imposed on the individual by the society. Raju breaks the moral code of the society and pays a heavy price for it ; later on he is reformed as the character evolves from within.

One of the pre-occupations of the post-colonalism is the dialectics of protest of the marginalized. Ujjwal Jana in his article “Mapping Out Gendered Space : A Study in Narayan’s The Guide says : “The two figures Rosie and Raju’s mother are no doubt ostracized in their respective homes and are pathetic victims of male hegemony, but they represent two different ideological positions”. (p.98). Because of her family background, Rosie has been marginalized. In spite of higher education and good looks, it is not possible for her to get a suitable match. Though Marco pretends to be a liberal minded westernized intellectual and marries Rosie, the marriage is a failure . Because of her low caste, she sailed unanchored on the troubled sea of life. It seemed that she would never be able to reach ashore. In her struggle for existence , she developed courage, self-respect and won social recognition and spirit of freedom. She got her own space in the modern Indian society. She proves that she is not a bull of oil machine , parrot of juggler or animal of a circus party. Rosie’s attempt of positioning herself as a recognizable human being with an identity of her own is successful. She moves from the periphery to the centre. Jasbir Jain in her study of post-colonialism of Indian novelists says : Over and above the shift in political power, newness comes in through resistance and search for identity. It has a strange habit of creeping gradually on one’s sensibility when Raja Rao turned to the sthalapurana as a narrative structure in his 1938 novel Kanthapura it was both resistance to a western narrative and political hegemony and a search for authentic voice. (p.1)

After discussing the resistance, oral tradition and hybridity of post-colonialism, we can again highlight the position of the marginalized. In the end of the novel, we see a reversal of character. Rosie is transformed into Nalini – an artist and independent woman. Raju led an immoral life due to the corrupting influence of the west and he is reformed. And this desire to be purified is internal as well as spiritual. Nalini moves from the margin to the centre and this is interesting as a part of subaltern studies. Raju dies as a pious soul, typical of Indian mysticism. The way the two major characters of the novel return to Indian ways of life, though coming from totally different background gives unity to the novel.
Peter Barry in his Beginning Theory: An Introduction has classified post colonial criticism into three phases. In the first phase, which he calls ‘adopt stage ’ ; there is an unquestioned acceptance of the authority of European models. The second phase is ‘adapt’ stage. There are few changes (with humble suggestion type of approach ). It aims to adapt the European form to native / non- European model . The third stage is called 'adept phase’ in which there is a declaration of cultural independence (p.196). Following Fanon we can say that we, the colonized people / intellectuals of the Third World must reclaim our past. There is a dire necessity to resist ‘epistemic violence’ (the beliefs of the colonizer imposed on the colonized).
Postcolonial Criticism of Indian English Writings is to be a two-way traffic stressing on cross-cultural interactions or criticism. This shift from Eurocentric criticism in a postcolonial reading of The Guide may appear to be conflicting but rewarding indeed.

  • References
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  • Conflicting Readings of R.K. Narayan’s The Guide 27 28