Can R.K.Narayan's The Guide be called a picaresque novel?
The Guide presents Raju's character in a serio-comic manner. He is a rogue who takes life with a broad-mindedness reminding us of Tom Jones of Fielding. Gradually, he changes not from a rogue to a saint. But there is a transformation taking place surely. What kind of change is this? Do you feel any similarity of Raju with that of Tom Jones?
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R.K.Narayan's The Guide is neither a rogue novel or picaresque novel proper. It is a novel of character transformation. No , there are certain shades of similarity between the characters of Tom Jones and Raju. But their situations are totally different. There are mythical and scriptural allusions in the novel and the sadhus are satirised in the novel. We may call it a social satire, but not exactly a rogue novel. Typical gurus of India follow this kind of life style. In spite of their reluctance they are compelled under circumstances to pose as sadhus and they really become. Their mask become their faces. Narayan has beautifully exposed the hypocrisy and shams of Indian social life through the character of Raju. His turning from a social guide to a spiritual guide has nothing to do with the change in Tom Jone's character. Both in motif and viewpoints as well as in ambience, the two novels one of Fieldings's and the other of R.K.Narayan hava gulf of difference between them.
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