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The Guide: R.K Narayan


Published in the year 1958, the novel is grounded on a fictional town named Malgudi.The novel spectacles the transformation of the protagonist named Raju, who once a tour guide turn into a holy man. The 1965 Indian movie starring Devanand and Waheeda Rehman is based on the novel 'The Guide'.

The novel received immense appreciation and R.K Narayan was awarded the Sahitya Academi Award.


Overview Raju, once the shadiest tourist guide is just released from the prison and quest for refugee in a temple.

Next, he is mistaken for a holy man by one of the villagers and in no time villagers are devoted towards him.

With all these play-acting, God intervenes and puts Raju's sanity to test.


1. Dishonesty: The character of Raju, the central character who has been exposed as deceitful.

As a guide, he tainted and mislead his tourists in order to make some more money.

During his childhood, he ate the green peppermints from his father’s shop though he was asked not to.

We also get in the novel how Rosie is hoodwinked by Raju to fall in love with him. Thus there is no rejecting the fact that dishonesty is rooted in the character of Raju from the opening of the novel.

2. Materialism: As the novel circles mostly around the character Raju, he is also seen to be materialistic. The first hint of this can be established when he fooled his tourists and earned extra money.

Next, the materialistic character is grasped in him when he starts relishing all the riches that are earned from the name and fame of Nalini.

He starts trailing all sense of morals and religious conviction.

3. Past and Present: The connexion of past and present is made known in the novel in numerous ways in the novel The Guide.

There come the railroad and the railway station at first, which alterations work, communication, travel, and more.

We can also see that Rosie was already a very good classical dancer and the condition of the modern scenario she is able to gain name and fame.

Major Characters

Raju: The dominant role in the novel is played by the character Raju. He searches for refugee after being released from jail. A man with amiable manners and the only son of the mother. His character is of a tour guide with which he earns his living.

In the later part of the novel, the behaviour of Raju changes drastically. We see how he makes a bond with a beautiful girl named Rosie and turns to be a wicked and money-minded man.

Rosie: A beautiful girl who is married to Marco. Unfortunately, her husband seems less interested in her and she herself crips the married life.

For Rosie dance is the only thing which keeps her going, but due to her husband’s dislike ness, she stopped her dance as well.

After she meets with Raju, we could see how her charm is back. She starts to dance and becomes a well-renowned dancer.


Question and Answer

What does the fate of Rosie say about her as a character? Rosie as Nalini continues to flourish with her dance and ends up quite successful. At a particular time she drifts apart from Raju and the distance between them grows more after Raju went to Jail.

As told by Mani, Rosie had settled down at Madras and was looking after herself quite well. For Rosie neither Marco nor Raju was important. She does not require a man who treated her as an object and did not value or treat her well.

She performs as often or as little as she wants. She can mingle with whomever she pleases without being treated like property. Rosie is true to herself. She sloughs off the irrelevant men around her and makes her own life. Do karma and dharma has a role in the novel? There is no denying that karma and dharma has a major role in the novel. The first glimpse of this can be seen through the character of Raju. His action that is the karma of misguiding tourists and his desire for materialistic life and his forgery bought him to the jail.

Next, we see the karma of Marco, his no respect attitude towards Rosie finally makes them isolated. At the end of the novel, the dharma is also seen when Raju finally stops begin selfishly and attains sainthood. Who is Velan? Is he responsible for Raju’s transformation? Throughout the novel, Velan seems like a fool and is being largely manipulated by Raju. Even after hearing the past life story of Raju mostly full of fraudulence and two-facades, his respect for Raju surges.

Velan respects him for the truthfulness shown and considers him not less than a saint. Velan in utmost faith spread the news of Raju to the villages and in no time crowd gathered. At the end of the novel, we see self-realisation playing a major role.

Velan’s sincere faith in Raju may have encouraged him to be sincere about something in his life for once, thus overlooking his own interest. His play-acting for fast actually turns to be real and he keeps fast for all the villagers for rain.

"velan,its raining in the hills. i can feel it coming up under my feet ,up my legs."

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