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April 10, 2014

The Theme of Feminism in The Guide by R.K Narayan

im done with my assignment for my World Literature subject on this topic..
just wanna share with you guys :)
The Guide is Narayan’s most famous novel in which he portrays the character of a woman who defies almost all traditional codes for women and comes out full way to establish herself as a human being. Rosie in The Guide is successful in her mission. She obtains her freedom and moves all over India alone doing her own work. Rosie, an M.A. in economics, challenges the orthodox Hindu concept of what a woman should be. She leaves her husband who shows his apathy and indifference towards her feelings and moves out of the walls of his family on a path usually unchartered for women in an Indian society.
The author portrays her character with all his sympathy, exposing the hypocrisy of the patriarchal society and showing how miserable the condition of even a highly educated woman was in that society and at the same time showing women gradually getting conscious of their personalities and demands. Rosie gives more importance to the gratification of her personal interest than to the observation of social codes for women. She ignores the taboos and other social practices that thwart her independence and moves on in her own way with her back to the society’s reaction and criticism. When her husband appears to her wanting passion and love and time for her, she enjoys the company of Raju, walking with him all over Malgudi and its surrounding sites, sitting with him beside the river Sarayu in the evenings and even indulging him in her closed room.
Rosie first walks over India’s time honoured tradition by ignoring the established custom of matching horoscopes and caste for marriage where it is a practice held to be sacred in Hinduism. But Rosie marriages one archaeologist husband with no matching of horoscopes and no consideration of caste. Rosie said in this novel  “I had myself photographed clutching the scroll of the university citation in one hand, and sent it to the advertisement. Well we met, he examined me and my certificate, we went to a registrar and got married”.
Next is the author’s portrayal of the character of Rosie further questions the position of women and exposes the cruelty and inhumanity of the male dominated Indian society. Rosie is an educated woman but her education fails to promote her status and gives her a better position in the society. As she said in the novel “We are viewed as public women. We are not considered respectable; we are not considered as civilized”. Even Marco wants to raise her as a puppet as if she were an illiterate woman unable to understand anything. Thus the society was blind and could not see any difference between an M. A. passed Rosie and an illiterate woman. Rosie finally comes out of this society that treats women as dolls and tries to stand on her own feet.
By throwing both Marco and Raju away from her life, Rosie strongly defies the well-defined place of women in Malgudi where a woman is never allowed to go on her own way, but is made to remain a puppet. An inner strength, until unseen and undiscovered by herself, leads her to soar so far out of Marco’s and even Raju’s reach that neither Raju nor Marco can control her. Raju at last comprehends that “she would never stop dancing … whether I was inside the bars or outside, whether her husband approved of it or not. Neither Marco nor I had any place in her life, which had its own sustaining vitality and which she herself had underestimated all along.”

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