What is the concept of universality in the novel The Guide?

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In the novel The Guide, universality is explored and used to create a broader sense of meaning. Universality is the idea that a concept or theme in a story is applicable in a much greater sense—it could happen anywhere, and it relates to other similar stories, like an archetype.

Raju is an archetype and a universal symbol in this story, which concerns his redemption arc. He is initially a very corrupt man and tour guide and eventually goes to prison for his misdeeds. However, over time he becomes viewed as a spiritual mentor and eventually even a sacrificial hero. Taking from pop culture, this mirrors an archetype like that of Han Solo or similar characters; Solo is a smuggler and unethical man who eventually becomes wrapped up in saving the universe, and his love makes him a better man who is dedicated to bringing safety to the people he grows to care about.

Raju is a universal symbol because he portrays many archetypal characteristics and becomes a leader and savior of the people.

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"Universality" as a literature term means some factor in the book that is not particular to a specific place, people, or time period. It could be happening to anyone, anywhere since it is "universal".  For instance, all humans love, hate, seek revenge, nurture, envy.  These are universal traits.

In this book, one universal trait is that Raju is a scamp who becomes well-respected and saintly.  This is the typical rags to riches story that you will find in almost every culture in the world.

Another universal trait is that Raju dies so that others may live.  This is considered the ultimate sacrifice, and martyrs are found in literature all over the world as well.

Go back and look...what else happens in the book that is not specific to the continent, culture, or town where Raju lives?  If it could happen anywhere else in the world, it is a universal trait.

Good Luck!

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