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Apart from many things,R.K Narayan's masterpiece The Guide shows a fine play of ironic reversals,which turns the book more dramatic than his early works.The irony used in the book is not rough,harsh or rugged but it is genial,jovial.mild and pure.It sometimes creates comedy and sometimes pathos.
Both humour and irony are so inextricably woven together that they remind us of Jane Austen and Henery James.The most striking feature of Narayan's use of irony is his unusual wedding of irony with moral imagination making it more subtle.R.K Narayan's use of irony is tantamount to Jane Austen.It is always genial,humorous,full of mirth and vivacity.
In The Guide R.K Narayan has profusely and analytically used different types of irony-verbal irony,dramatic irony,irony of situation.Raju the protagonist of the novel,is the innate guide who passes through three different phases of life-as a railway guide to the ordinary people,romantic guide to Rose(Nalini),spiritual guide to the village people.He turns form the light to the serious,sinner to the saint,from the rough to the sublime.But the greatest irony lies in this that though he guides to the other people but he fails to guide himself in his earlier life.It is only through the coincidence or a sense of respect or obligation that he suceeds in guiding his own sinful soul in the last phase of his saintly life.So the title of the novel is itself ironic.
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