Compare and contrast the characters Rosie and Nalini in The Guide.

Quick answer:

Rosie and Nalini refer to the same person, but they express different sides of her character. As Rosie, this woman is caught up in a world of oppression as her husband, Marco, prevents her from dancing and as Raju cheats and deceives her. As Nalini, however, she finds freedom and true expression in dance.

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In The Guide by R. K. Narayan, Rosie and Nalini are two names for the same person, yet each expresses different aspects of the woman's character, as we shall see when we look closely at how this woman acts under each of those names.

Rosie is the wife of Marco. She comes from a lower caste and from a family devoted to dance, but seeking to raise her status, she marries the wealthy, higher-caste Marco, who is a scholar. Marco, however, constricts Rosie. He looks down on her for her low birth, and he prevents her from dancing.

Rosie must play the part of the obedient wife, but she chafes under her husband's restrictions and condescension. She even begins having an affair with Raju (the protagonist), partly in protest against her husband's oppressive ways. Eventually, Rosie leaves Marco to live with Raju, and although Raju supports Rosie's dancing, he, too, oppresses her, for he takes the money she earns and spends it lavishly and foolishly. He also lies to her. Eventually, they end up in poverty. Rosie cannot seem to catch a break.

But Nalini can. "Nalini" is the name Rosie takes as a dancer. It is a traditional Indian name that allows this woman to shed her Western fa├žade and become her true self. Nalini is bold and alluring, one of the best dancers in the world. As Nalini, this woman can be forceful. She can express her true spirit. It is as Nalini that she finally breaks away from both Marco and Raju. She sets out on her own, dancing for herself and living for herself, and she finds both fame and independence.

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