The Guide, a novel by R.K. Narayan is rooted in everyday, down-to-earth characters in which he believes depicts the Indian way of life. This Bildungsroman novel is told in chronological manner with two stories in one plot. It reflects upon Raju’s life since he was a little boy to the present day. Set in Narayan’s fictional town, Malgudi, Raju tells the story of his past in the first person narration while his experience as a swami is told in the third person narration.
In The Guide, the blend of modernization and tradition brings about conflicts to the characters. Raju the central character encounters several transformations in his life. We might say that Raju’s transformations are due to his own desire. However, a deep thought will suggest that the transformations and conflicts he faces are also the result of the collision between modernity inside him and the religion belief his parents refined in his childhood.
As the story goes on, Raju reveals that he has undergone transformations not only in his role but also in his character. Raju’s role may take six forms; as a young son, as a shopkeeper, as a tourist guide, as Rosie’s lover, as Rosie’s stage manager and finally, as a swami. All these roles, in one way or another alter Raju’s characters and attitudes toward himself and people around him. He adjusts himself positively as well as negatively, to suit the quality of each role.
As the novel begins, Raju recollects his memory in his childhood. In his early days, Raju is an innocent and obedient child (also can be understood as pure). Although sometimes he protests his parents’ actions, he never took it very seriously and always has fun out of it. For example, when his father sends him to school (as a form of punishment for ...
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... be understood as the act of purification and neutralization of his being. As said earlier, the conflicts in his life are the result of collision between modernity and desire inside him and the religion belief his parents refined in his childhood. So, the accident swami is not really an accident but another trial for him. The faith that he has helps him to go through the trial and obviously as an opportunity to repent for his sins.
In conclusion, it is true that Raju undergoes several transformations not only in his role but also in his character. The transformations depicts the cycle of his life in which after all the challenges and turbulences, he comes back to his original state of being; innocent and pure. With regard to human being as a whole, we can say we make mistakes all the time, but there is always a chance for us to rectify and correct our mistakes.