The Guide - R K Narayan Review

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R. K. Narayan: The Guide: A Study Guide (1958)
R[asipuram] K[rishnaswamy] 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 Guideis one of his most interesting books, which begins as a comic look at the life of a
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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
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