The Guide

by

R. K. Narayan

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The Guide: Chapter 10 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Continuing to tell his tale to Velan, Raju speaks of the two days he was forced to spend in lock-up after his arrest for forgery. Rosie visits him at the jail and cries when she sees him. When Raju is released and returns home, he finds everything different. Mani, his secretary, is silent. Rosie has stopped practicing. There are no visitors. As Raju had never been careful with money, Rosie had been forced to scrape up 10,000 rupees to secure his bail. Raju suggests that Rosie take up engagements to earn more.
Just as Raju had ruined his father’s business, so now it seems that he has also ruined the empire of dance that he had built up with Rosie. This is indicated in the empty, silent house that he finds upon his return from lock-up. That Rosie goes out of her way to find the funds to release Raju from lock-up, even though he is there because he has betrayed and deceived her, points to her generosity. She still feels attached to and empathetic towards Raju, in spite of his betrayal.
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Back in the house after his two days in jail, Raju realizes that he is now a “hanger-on,” and “that mastery ha[s] passed” on to Rosie. She treats him with disdain, and Raju, absorbed in self-pity, fails to see the predicament he has put her in: they are poor, in spite of all her tireless dancing.
The trouble that Raju has gotten them into reveals the truth about his relationship to Rosie. While he had always assumed that he was the powerful one, it is in fact now Rosie—the woman—who emerges as the one with power. Raju’s own deceit has rendered him powerless, and has moreover severed him from the woman he loves.
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Rosie wants to repay their debts. She considers going back to Marco. She says that she never wants to perform publicly again, after Raju’s disgrace. She also considers a suicide pact with Raju, but doesn’t trust that he will carry out his side of the bargain. Raju tries to convince Rosie to dance again, but she says she is tired of her circus existence. Finally, Rosie says that she will help Raju, but that when everything is over she wants him to leave her alone.
Rosie’s desperation at the predicament in which she finds herself is reflected in the wild solutions that she proposes—either returning to Marco, or committing suicide with Raju. The trouble that Raju has created for her has completely dimmed her passion for and devotion to her dance.
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With Mani’s help, Rosie busies herself with booking engagements. Watching her, Raju becomes jealous of her self-sufficiency, realizing that she did not need him, and had never needed him nor Marco all along.
Rosie’s independence and self-sufficiency in managing her own career once she decides to help Raju leads to a complete reversal of roles. Raju had believed himself instrumental to Rosie’s career, but now it is he who is completely dependent on her for help.
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With the money that Rosie raises from her performances, she hires a reputable, but expensive, lawyer to defend Raju against Marco in the upcoming trial.
In securing such an expensive and reputable lawyer for Raju, Rosie shows herself to be a woman of her word—she has committed to help Raju, and she goes out of her way to procure for him the best defense lawyer possible.
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At the trial, Raju’s lawyer presents the chief villain as Marco, who, he argues, wanted to drive Rosie mad. It was Raju, the lawyer contends, who saved her from her cruel husband. He even goes so far as to argue that it was Marco himself who orchestrated the forging of the signature, but Mani’s testimony about Raju’s obsession with the arrival of the insured parcel, as well as the testimony of a handwriting expert, who deduces that the signature is in fact in Raju’s handwriting, seal Raju’s fate. Raju is sentenced to two years in prison. In the meantime, Rosie continues her dancing engagements to pay for the expensive trial.
Raju’s public humiliation in the trial, as well as the sentence that he receives, point to the complete destruction of his reputation. Raju’s deceit has led him to the worst place possible: not only has he lost his power, as well as his hold, over Rosie, he has also lost his face before the public. As a man who is obsessed with status and wealth, such a public humiliation is devastating. It is even more devastating given that it is Rosie who, through her performances, bears the costs of the trial—Raju is so helpless he must completely rely on Rosie’s generosity.
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In jail, Raju is a model prisoner, getting on well with both warders and prisoners. Raju adjusts himself to life in prison, content to take care of the prison superintendent’s garden and to stroll the 50 acres of the prison grounds.
The prison sentence seems to humble Raju. In jail, he is forced to make do with very little—taking joy in small things such as the superintendent’s garden and prison grounds. His limited, modest existence in prison marks a departure from his once lavish existence as Rosie’s manager.
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The prison superintendent transfers Raju to his office to act as his personal assistant. While organizing the super’s newspapers, Raju comes across news of Nalini. He sees photos of her in the papers and reads reports of her engagements. She is growing more and more in fame and stature as a dancer, and he is affronted that she should have managed so well without him.
The distance between Raju and Rosie is now so vast that Raju can only hope to get news of her in the papers—there is no hope of ever seeing her in the flesh again. Rosie, clearly, has moved on with her life. Her growing success as a dancer confirms to Raju that she never needed him in the first place; she is more than equipped to manage her life and her career without his aid.
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Raju wonders whether Mani, his old secretary, has taken his place in Rosie’s life. Mani had been his only visitor during his first months in jail. He had given Raju the news that Rosie had moved to Madras, and that a huge crowd had gathered in Malgudi to see her off. She had discharged all of the debts that Raju had accumulated. Mani further informs Raju that, after the trial, Marco and Rosie never met, going their separate ways.
Raju’s old predisposition towards jealousy seems to reassert itself here, as he wonders whether Mani has taken his place in Rosie’s life. The news that Mani brings of Rosie confirms that she has overcome all obstacles and limitations. Once looked down upon by Raju’s mother as a low caste dancing girl, she leaves the town of Malgudi as a celebrated artist and a star. That Rosie has also broken her dependence on men is indicated by the fact that she does not meet her husband Marco after the trial, and instead goes her own way. She seems finally free of the control of men.
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On the last day of the trial, Raju’s mother had appeared. She had refused to let Rosie speak to her, and, directing her fury at Raju, told him that he has brought great shame on the family, and that it would have been better if he had died.
The terrible words that Raju’s mother speaks to her son points to the extent of the destruction that Raju has wrought as a result of his deceit. Not only has he destroyed his own life, but he has also destroyed his mother’s through his shameful and irresponsible actions.
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