How is Raju one of Narayan's most complex characters in The Guide?

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In Narayan's novel, Raju is an incredibly complex character for a variety of reasons. Raju's development and growth means that his character traits and actions change wildly throughout the story, as do his motivations.

Starting out as a corrupt tour guide and conman, Raju eventually is imprisoned for his illegal...

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deeds. From his perspective, his actions seem justified until he finds himself mistaken for a spiritual leader. While he would normally use this as just another opportunity to turn a buck, he eventually becomes engrossed in actually helping people and becomes transformed by the very teachings that he is imitating. In the end, he even sacrifices his life to help the people of the village, as he is praying for their drought to end.

His complexity stems from the fact that he began his journey as a lying, thieving con artist who is then transformed into a sacrificial, caring individual. This makes him more than a typical hero because he has experienced a metamorphosis journey that has changed his attitude and motivations as well as his actions.

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It is difficult to compare characters from different novels because each particular novel contains its own sense of fluid dynamics.  However, one can say that Raju is a complex character in that amount of changes he undergoes.  He starts off as a storekeeper and then winds up as a sage.  His evolution takes him from struggling to earn a subsistence to managing a wealthy artist's career to a spiritual dimension where he is seen as someone who possesses other world qualities.  His complex dimensions also reside in how individuals actually view him.  He appears to be genuine and sincere, but there is a streak of self interest that accompanies him throughout his various changes.  He does benefit from the relationship between he and Rosie, and he does benefit from the interaction with the villagers that provide him food.  Raju's complexity is present because it is not really indicated whether or not he is "sinner" or "saint."  The fact that this distinction is not directly stated indicates that he can be seen in a multiplicity of ways, each having some level of validity.

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