R.K. NARAYAN AS A NOVELIST
INTRODUCTION: The winner of Sahitya Academy Award, R.K. Narayan is one of the greatest Indian writers in English with world fame. His novels have a universal appeal. They have been translated into most of the important languages of the world. Narayan is a simple and pure artist. He is popular as 'Crusader Scholar' and idealist missionary. He has produced more than a dozen novels and 'The Guide' is the best.
NARAYAN'S REGIONALISM: MALGUDI:- Narayan is an eminent regional novelist. His novels are known as Malgudi novels. In fact, he deals with the physical features, people, life, customs, habits, manners, traditions, languages and life style of Malgudi. His treatment of it is realistic and vivid. Thus, Narayan's Malgudi is compared with Wordsworth's Lake District, Hardy's
Wessex and Bennet's . It is very much like Hardy's Caster-bridge also. Thus Narayan's novels have regional essence. Malgudi is the real hero . By some critics, Malgudi is called 'The symbol of Pottery Town ' and 'the microcosm of Indian society'. According to them the people of Malgudi grow out of it, live in it and belong to it. They are essentially human beings. They have their kinship with all humanity. In this sense Malgudi is everywhere. In 'The Guide' we see Malgudi passing through various phases of development. It shows the changes in the life of its hero, Raju. India
ART OF CHARACTERISATION:- R.K. Narayan is a great writer of characters. His characters are based on the psychological treatment. They all are realistic and life like. Through these characters the novelist wants to bring the reality of the society into light. These characters are quite different from one another. They may be divided into three groups. Swami, Chandran,
Krishna, Srinivas and Natraj are simple characters. Mr. Sampath, Margayya, Raju and Ramani are complex characters. Marco, Veeraswami and Kailash are minor characters. His female characters are also interesting. Some of them are typically Indian housewives and some others are more modernised.
PLOT CONSTRUCTION:- R.K. Narayan's plots are well knit. He knows well how to start a novel, how to develop it and how to end it. He is very careful to avoid unnecessary things. His art of plot construction follows the classical pattern. He unfolds his plot gradually. In fact, his plots have architectonic qualities. The plot of 'The Guide' has all these qualities.
HUMOUR AND IRONY:- Narayan is known for his humour and irony. His novels and stories are comedies. He is a pure humorist whose chief aim is all pervasive and most varied. In his writings we come across with humour of all kinds. His humour has magnetic power and it has universal appeal. It mingles with pathos and tragedy. In 'The Guide' there are a number of situations that give rise to loud laughter. For example, a very humorous situation occurs when Raju as the Swami goes in to have some food, finds the pot empty and throws it away in anger. Then coming out he says to his disciples, 'empty vessels make much noise'.
FAMILY RELATIONSHIP:- R.K. Narayan always gives a remarkable place to human relationship in his works. The family relationship is the major theme in his novels. He deals with the relationship of sons and parents and husbands and wives. In 'The Guide' also Narayan introduces the family relationship. Here Rosie and Marcohave been presented as unsuccessful husband and wife.
ART AND VISION OF LIFE:- R.K. Narayan is a pure artist. In each of his work he presents life with perfect sincerity and truthfulness. He believes in domestic harmony and peaceful relations. Unsocial activities and perversion do not find any place in his works. He seems a commentator on the broad tendencies of the society and age. His vision of life is comic and ironic. This creates the impression that Narayan gives only a surface view of reality. But the fact is that he keeps very close to surface reality.
CONCLUSION:- Thus R.K. Narayan is a great novelist. He uses a pure and limpid English, easy and natural in its run and tone. His contribution to the development of Indo-Anglian literature is remarkable and memorable.
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Chesterton as an essayist .