The Painter of Signs

by R. K. Narayan

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Discuss the character of Raman in R. K. Narayan's The Painter of Signs.

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Raman in a unique character in The Painter of Signs. As the title suggests, he is a sign painter, which leads to his eventual meeting with Daisy, the object of his affection. Often in reading literature, the truest form of a character is only displayed by how they overcome something or interact with other characters. In this sense, critics have often argued that Daisy, despite being Raman's love interest, may be the actual antagonist of the novel. Ignoring that, it is through her that we see Raman's true and less contrived character.

Initially in the novel, Raman is a bachelor and often speaks to this fact.

He wishes to establish that the man-woman relationship was not inevitable and that there were other more important things in life to do than marrying.

As a reader, we get the sense that this bachelorhood is created, however, and almost a wall. When Raman meets Daisy, we see that even though he initially had more "modern" views of marriage and relationships in India's conservative culture, he gives these up and twists himself in different directions to maintain Daisy's affection.

Raman and Daisy marry, and throughout their marriage, she says that she will not be a woman that stays at home, or take care of children. She eventually says that marriage isn't suitable for her, and at the end of the novel, she leaves Raman.

It is through their relationship and marriage and Raman's obsession over her that we see his inhibitions fall away. He is the definition of complexity in his own feelings of masculinity and more obsessive and unsure of himself than he initially lets on.

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