What social values in India are examined in the novel The Guide?

R. K. Narayan's The Guide examines Indian social values through the conflict between traditional ways and Western influence. The role of women, the caste system, marriage expectations, and religious beliefs are all examined in the novel.

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The Guide by R. K. Narayan examines social values in India with regard to the conflict between traditional ways and the ever-increasing influence of Western values. This struggle is especially prominent in the character of Rosie. Rosie is an Indian woman married to the scholar Marco. She goes by a Western name, and her husband forces her to give up her passion for traditional Indian dance. Rosie eventually leaves Marco, for the call of her art is stronger than her love for her husband. She takes the Indian name Nalini and goes to live with Raju, the story's protagonist.

This, however, leads to problems with Raju's traditional family, especially his mother and uncle. They are traditional people who hold fast to the traditional social values of India, and they don't approve of Rosie. For one thing, Rosie is a member of a lower caste and a dancer at that, and she is, therefore, inferior in the eyes of Raju's mother. When it is revealed that Rosie is actually a married woman, the situation escalates further, for this is completely unacceptable to Raju's mother. Raju's uncle arrives, insults both Rosie and Raju, and insists that Raju send Rosie away. Raju refuses, and his mother packs up and leaves.

However, there are issues between Raju and Rosie as well. Rosie, now Nalini, finds success as a dancer, but Raju takes control of her money and squanders it, thinking that as a man, he has more right to the funds than Rosie does. Rosie eventually leaves Raju.

The end of the novel explores some of India's religious beliefs and values as Raju masquerades as a holy man after solving Velan's problem with his sister. The sister has refused to marry the man Velan has arranged for her, but Raju convinces her to accept the match. The villagers now think that Raju is some kind of swami, and he allows them to believe that. But as Raju fasts in order to obtain much needed rain, he actually discovers that he is changing within himself and becoming the man the villagers want and need him to be.

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