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R. K. Naryan's The Guide (1958) is set in the fictitious town of Malgudi in South India and is the story of a small town tour guide named Raju (or Railway Raju). This is a story of his transformation from a corrupt but honorable guide to a spiritual guru.
Raju's character has various shades: he's a corrupt tour guide who seeks personal gain in everything, yet he falls in love with innocent Rosie, encourages her to take her skills at dancing seriously, establishes her as a famous dancer, but then again starts spending his life on her money, forges papers to keep her away from her husband and closer to himself, spends time in prison, returns to the village and is misunderstood as a swami/guru/holy man and fasts to keep people's faith and finally dies while discovering the meaning of life.
It is up to the reader to perceive Raju as either a quick-talking corrupt guy who is wastrel and uses short-cuts to achieve his goals; or as a sensitive person who encourages his love to live to her potential, tries to keep her happy, gives up his life to maintain the faith of simple village folk who took him to be a spiritual person.
Raju is a corrupt guide, a young Indian man from Malgudi. He is also the protagonist in this novel, The Guide. He develops as a dynamic character in the novel to later become a wise man.
He is very smart, but never attends school. He is proud to be able to find what people are looking for and satisfy them. Raju is often quite lazy, trying to get what he wants whenever possible quickly. He also has a quick mouth and often blabbers false information to achieve whatever he wants.
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