The Guide R. K. Narayan Themes

The Guide R. K. Narayan Themes

Narayan’s The Guide Theme


R. K. Narayan
is mainly concerned with man’s life in the universe. His concern is human
destiny and he deals with man’s predicament in the universe, his inter-personal
relationships, and the life of man in connection with human relationships. The theme of The Guide studies
complex relationship based on family,
sex, money, marriage and religion
.

Theme of Transformation

The main theme
is implicit in the title of the novel,
The Guide
. Raju, the railway guide becomes a tourist guide, Rosie’s manager
and dancing guide, a prisoner’s guide and finally a prisoner’s guide and
finally a spiritual guide. It is r of the growth of a petty guide to a
spiritual guide. Raju’s movement from childhood to death symbolize the journey
of a common man the story of the growth of a from ignorance to knowledge, from
selfish love to altruism, from materialistic involvement to spiritual
detachment from vanity to modesty. However Raju’s
role as a guide
can be regarded from various points of views, each
encompassing other themes or
messages.



Theme of Depiction of Lower Middle Class

According to some critics, the major theme of all novels of
Narayan is Malgudithe depiction of lower middle class
lives. As rural town of porters, small businessmen, teachers, and beggars, it
grows into a tourist town with varied interests. Malgudi is a typical Indian
town changing from a semi agricultural town to a big city and this change is
symbolic of the change taking place in India. Narayan depicts how traditional
values are being corroded and how adherence to tradition brings about spiritual
rebirth.

Theme of Love, Sex and Marriage

The Indians of
his background lead to stress on family and its various relationships. The
relationship between Raju’s parents, his fear of his father, his closeness to
his mother, the differences arising out of Rosie are all depicted vividly.
Velan’s story also reflects on family relationships, as after his father’s
death, he has to perform the duty of getting his sister married. The theme of
family automatically leads to a stress on the
theme of marriage
. Raju’s mother is concerned about his marriage. She wants
to get him married to his cousin. Velan also marries his sister to his
half-cousin. As a brother, he has the duty of getting his sister married. Rosie
though educated, is a ‘devadasi’ and
has to marry Marco for social security. It is an unhappy marriage since there
is no parity in their ambition, love and sex.



This results in Rosie’s seduction by
Raju who satisfies her ambition to be a dancer. Her major focus is on her
career and not on her physical relationship. She never accepts Raju as a
substitute for her husband. She feels guilty and pines for her husband. With
Narayan, sex is not a dominant theme
but is used bring out the irony of character and life. His characters Raju and
Rosie are left alone for rejecting moral sanctity. Thus his treatment of love and sex is in keeping
with his middle class Indian setting.

Theme of Money

Raju and Rosie’s sex relationship
becomes a money relationship. Narayan emphasizes the importance of money. In
this novel money haunts most of the characters. Raju’s father runs a shop for
money. Raju becomes a guide for money. His seduction for Rosie is also prompted
by his greed for money. He accepts countless contracts on her behalf for the
sake of money. It is his greed that results in the forgery of Rosie’s signature
and his consequent downfall. The lawyer also centres round the money theme.
However Rosie loves art for art’s sake and has no greed for money. Marco loves
his art more than money. Velan also
is not money-minded but likes to get spiritual peace.



Theme of Human Relationship

While dealing with the theme of
family, marriage, sex and money, Narayan basically deals with human
relationship in society
. He gives the message that those who deviate from these
human relationships get destroyed. Raju deviates from conventional morality by
living with Rosie, a married woman. He is spurned by society and his mother leaves
him. His journey of life from a tourist to a Swami results in his becoming
spiritually reborn.

Narayan thus makes it clear that life
must be lived in spite of follies and vanities, money, sex or marriage.

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