Malgudi Days

“I made preparations to leave the town in a couple of days, leaving the engine to its fate, with all its commitments. However, nature came to my rescue in an unexpected manner.” (84)

Narayan, R. K. Malgudi Days. Engine Trouble. New York: Penguin, 2006. Print.

I picked this passage because of how it represents the troubles that the poor people in India have throughout this novel, and how everything seems to come down to “fate” or luck, although in reality a lot of the misfortunes come from the cause and effect relationship between people that have much more power and influence over the institutions, like local government, that then effect these people in every day lives.

Malgudi Days.

” Where is the headmaster ? “

” Why do you want him ? “

” My father has sent a letter for him.”

” He has taken the afternoon off, and won’t come for a week. You can give the letter to the assistant headmaster. He will be here now.”

” Who is he ? “

” Your teacher, Samuel. He will be here in a second.”

Swaminathan fled from the place. As soon as Swami went home with the letter, father remarked : ” I knew you wouldn’t deliver it, you coward.”

This dialogue displays a unique type of ending that is used in Malgudi Days. That is, the stories play with the readers expectations. Each story is typically resolved with a subversion of the character’s wants or wishes. 

Malgudi Days

“Attila exhibited a love of humanity which was sometimes disconcerting…It was well that Attila had no powers of speech. Otherwise he would have burst into a lamentation which would have shattered the pedestal under his feet”

Narayan, R. K. Malgudi Days: Attila. New York: Penguin, 2006. 98-101. Print.

Malgudi Days: Attila

“It was well that Attila had no powers of speech. Otherwise he would have burst into a lamentation which would have shattered the pedestal under his feet”

Narayan, R. K. Malgudi Days: Attila. New York: Penguin, 2006. 101. Print.

This technique of explaining what another character thought, is very reminiscent of Mrs. Dalloway. How Woolf would have her characters mind read other characters’ minds. This is exactly the same as what Narayan does in this passage to describe how Attila, a dog felt, and thought. Using discourse to represent what Attila thought, he thought “he would have burst into lamentation which would have shattered the pedestal under his feet.”

Malgudi Days: Attila

“But as time passed our Attila exhibited a love of humanity which was sometimes disconcerting. The Scourge of Europe -could be ever have been like this? they put it down to his age. What child could help loving all creatures?”

Narayan, R. K. “”Attila”” Malgudi Days. New York: Penguin, 2006. 101. Print.

Malgudi Days: “Atilla”

“It was as well that Attila had no powers of speech. Otherwise he would have burst into a lamentation which could have shattered the pedestal under his feet.”

The irony of the incorrect assumption that Attila has captured the burglar for the protection of the family is only made possible through an indirect discourse I have never quite seen (through an animal) like, “Atilla’s greatest ambition in life was to wander in the streets freely”(100). The “powers of speech” the dog does not possess are made possible through this indirect speech that focalizes a dog, with a great humorous effect.

Narayan, R. K. “”Attila”” Malgudi Days. New York: Penguin, 2006. 101. Print.

 

Malgudi Days

“This is my child. I planted it. I saw it grow. I loved it. Don’t cut it down…”

R.K. Narayan. Malgudi Days. (New York: Penguin Books.) 2006.

This is a very touching quote from Velan because I think it really puts his emotions into perspective for the reader. In my opinion, the short/choppy sentences create emphasis and cause us to sympathize.

Attila

“Please lock him up in a room at night, otherwise he might call in a burglar and show him round.”

I found the irony in this snarky comment rather amusing. Not only is this dog being insulted for his friendly nature, but it is being suggested that they have lost all faith that he can help their household. Although Attila does not bark or attack the burglar, the end result is in his favor.

 

R.K. Narayan. Malgudi Days. (New York: Penguin Books.) 2006. (99)

Malgudi Days: The Doctor’s Word

“At about eight in the evening, the patient opened his eyes and stirred slightly in bed… He sent away the assistant and sat beside the patient. At about eleven, the patient opened his eyes and smiled at his friend”

(Narayan, Malgudi Days: The Doctor’s Word, pg. 20)

The repetition of the narrator using the words “the patient” to describe Gopal creates a sense of distance between the doctor and his friend. The introductory paragraph of the short story establishes the fact that this doctor is known, and well liked for his blunt honesty in regards to the situation of his patients. That’s all they are to him. Patients. He can distance himself from them which allows him to do his job. This dear friend is now also being identified as a patient so that the doctor can focus on treating him like he would any other patient. “The patient opened his eyes and smiled at his friend”. Gopal is coming back to him, reminding the doctor that this man is more than just another patient.

Malgudi Day’s

“Swaminathan fled from the place. As soon as Swami went home with the letter, father
remarked : ” I knew you wouldn’t deliver it, you coward.”
” I swear our headmaster is on leave,” Swaminathan began.
Father replied : ” Don’t lie in addition to being a coward. . . .”
Swami held up the envelope and said : ” I will give this to the headmaster as soon as
he is back. . . .”
Father snatched it from his hand, tore it up, and thrust it into the wastepaper basket
under his table. He muttered : ” Don’t come to me for help even if Samuel
throttles you. You deserve your Samuel” (Narayan, Father’s Help, 91).

 

This ending really stuck out as a powerful and highly satirical if not ironic ending. Swami endured a punishment because he thought that getting a teacher fired endorsed punishment from that teacher but in the end nothing changed and he was punished wrongly again. Perhaps though, reading into it a little, that which scared Swami about being publicly humiliated was now conquered by being punished for nothing and inciting that punishment. Simply put, Swami conquered his fears by inciting them himself.

Malgudi Days

“When a dozen persons question openly or slyly a man’s sanity he begins to entertain serious doubts himself.” (Malgudi Days, 26)

This quote is from the very first line of Gateman’s Gift. I thought it was an interesting idea I had never considered before. If someone is constantly doubted in any aspect of their life then they will begin to feel doubtful themselves even if they were once confident. This quote emphasizes the power of suggestion and of influence by others.

Malgudi Days

“‘My dear father: By the time you see this letter I shall be at the bottom of Sarayu. I don’t want to live. Don’t worry about me. You have other sons who are not such dunces as I am-‘”

Suicide is a serious topic which is somewhat glossed over because it is quickly brought up and then the story is over with. This short story highlights the fact that suicide can come out of nowhere with such strong feelings attached to it. At the end of some of the stories in this novel, there are “lessons” or important topics brought up, but the loose ends are not tied up, leaving the reader wanting more. (60)

R.K. Narayan. Malgudi Days. (New York: Penguin Books.) 2006.

Malgudi Days

“Attila exhibited a love of humanity which was sometimes disconcerting.”

Narayan, R.K. Malgudi Days. New York: Penguin, 2006. (98)

Strange that they should feel disconcerted for a dog that likes them. Opposite emotions of what you would expect. Similar to “A Father’s Help” when Swami is upset that he is not being disciplined.

Malgudi Days: Missing Mail

‘No prize yet,’ he announced to him every day. ‘But don’t be disheartened.’ ‘Your interest has been delayed this month somehow,’ he said to another. ‘Your son at Hyderabad has written again, madam. How many children has he now?’ ‘I did not know that you had applied for this Madras job; you haven’t cared to tell me!’

Narayan, R K. Malgudi Days. Edison, NJ: Vista India, 2005. Print

Narayan establishes the setting by naming the streets and stops on Thanappa’s mail route. Through snippets of Thanappa’s dialogue, Narayan offers the reader insight on the kind of relationships Thanappa has with others and the type of people that live there.

Malgudi Days

“The snake, which was now less than three yards from me, lifted a quarter of its body, with a gentle flourish reared its head, fixed its round eyes on me and listened to the music without making the slightest movement. It might have been a carven snake in black stone, so still it was.”

R.K. Narayan. Malgudi Days (New York: Penguin Books, 2006). pg 77

The vivid descriptions of the snake bring it to life. The narrator is clearly terrified of this poisonous creature, but at the same time he is enraptured by its appearance and its response to his music. Narayan manages to capture both the danger of the animal and the beauty of it at the same time.

Malgudi Days

“Attila was the hero of the day. Even the lady of the house softened towards him. She said, ‘Whatever one might say of Attila, one has to admit that his is a very cunning detective. He is too deep for words.’ It was well that Attila had no powers of speech. Otherwise he would have burst into a lamentation which would have shattered the pedestal under his feet.” (101)

Narayan, R K. Malgudi Days. Edison, NJ: Vista India, 2005. Print

“An Astrologer’s Day”

“There was a pause as cars hooted on the road, jukta-drivers swore at their horses and the babble of the crowd agitated the semi-darkness of the park. The other sat down, sucking his cheroot, puffing out, sat there ruthlessly. The astrologer felt very uncomfortable.”

R.K. Narayan. Malgudi Days (New York: Penguin Books, 2006), 12.

The astrologer’s moment of realization is expressed through a zooming out and then in of perspective. The “pause” is what the astrologer alone feels, as his external environment carries on and “agitates” his feelings of discomfort. To the astrologer, the “other” sits “ruthlessly” because he alone feels “very uncomfortable.”

Narayan – Malgudi Days

“‘That swine has cheated me! He promised me a rupee’, said the astrologer.” (13)

Narayan, R K. Malgudi Days. Edison, NJ: Vista India, 2005. Print

This realization at the end of the story is especially ironic. The astrologer is able to successfully trick Guru Nayak into believing that the man that stabbed him years before is dead. Instead of being relieved that he has escaped his own death, he is angry at the amount of money he has received from Guru Nayak.