Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Raja Rao's Kanthapura. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
Kanthapura: Plot Summary
Kanthapura: Detailed Summary & Analysis
Kanthapura: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of Raja Rao
Historical Context of Kanthapura
Other Books Related to Kanthapura
- Full Title: Kanthapura
- When Written: 1929
- Where Written: Chennai (Madras), India
- When Published: 1938
- Literary Period: Modern Indian Literature, Colonial Literature
- Genre: Novel, Sthala-Purana (legendary history)
- Setting: Kanthapura, a small village in Southwest India circa 1930
- Climax: The townspeople burn Kanthapura to the ground and move to surrounding villages.
- Antagonist: The British colonial government, as embodied by the policeman Badè Khan, the Sahib at the Skeffington Estate, locals who defend the colonial system, and the military and police forces that crush Kanthapura’s rebellion
- Point of View: First-person oral history told by Achakka.
Extra Credit for Kanthapura
Surname Traditionally, many South Indians do not use surnames; Raja Rao only adopted his in adulthood in order to get a passport.
Spirituality and the Absolute Like Kanthapura’s protagonist Moorthy, Rao was deeply concerned with metaphysical questions, and his work became increasingly philosophical throughout his life. He considered writing and reading to be spiritual practices aimed at elevating consciousness, and during his acceptance speech for the Neustadt Prize in 1988, Rao explained that he considered himself “a man of silence” and the prize “not given to me, but to the That which is far beyond me, yet in me—because I alone know I am incapable of writing what people say I have written.”