The Guide

by

R. K. Narayan

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The Guide: Chapter 7 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Returning to his past in Malgudi, Raju speaks to Velan about how he continued to devote himself to Marco’s care. Marco decides to remain at Peak House for a month to explore the caves. In the meantime, Raju also looks after Rosie, with whom he has become totally obsessed, neglecting his old life to cater to her needs.
The double-life that Raju leads affirms the deceit and dissimulation that characterizes his relationship to Marco. While playing Marco’s helper and guide, Raju betrays him by indulging in a passionate affair with his wife. Notably, Raju seems to feel no remorse nor guilt over this situation—so long as he has Rosie, nothing else seems to matter.
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While Rosie continues her affair with Raju, she also begins to show excessive consideration for Marco, still up in Mempi Hills. One day, at the hotel in Malgudi, she suddenly demands that Raju call Gaffur so that he can drive her to Peak House. Raju talks to Rosie about her dance, which she has begun practicing, and as he encourages her to teach him more about her art, an intimacy grows between them. He is mesmerized when one day she performs a dance for him.
Unlike Raju, Rosie seems to feel some guilt and remorse over the betrayal of her husband. This suggests that she has more of a conscience than Raju; on the other hand, as Marco’s wife, she is more closely connected to Marco than Raju. Raju, who seems to have an instinct for manipulating Rosie, focuses on her dance—which is her passion—as a way to bring her closer to him and to distract her from her husband. Sure enough, this works, as a greater intimacy develops between the two lovers, as Raju wants.
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Raju and Rosie go up to Peak House, with the plan that Rosie will speak to Marco and once again attempt to convince him to allow her to have a dance career. At Peak House, they find Marco in a good mood; he has discovered another cave, and he tells Raju that, when his research is published, it will change present ideas about the history of civilization. He says he will thank Raju in the book.
Although Rosie, in marrying Marco, had consented to give up her dance, clearly her passion for her art is such that she is unable to live without it. It is this, along with Raju’s encouragement, that motivates her to speak to her husband. Marco is completely oblivious to both his wife’s and Raju’s betrayal—as indicated by the fact that he tells Raju he will thank him in his book when it is published.
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Raju leaves Peak House for Malgudi to allow Rosie time to speak to Marco. He returns two days later. When he arrives, he learns from Joseph (the man who looks after the house) that Rosie and Marco are at the caves. When Raju finds them, they are silent and morose, barely speaking to him. Marco enters the house and Rosie follows.
The silent and grave state in which Raju finds Rosie and Marco upon his return to Peak House suggests that something serious has taken place, and yet Raju cannot be certain what is going on. Even though he is Rosie’s lover, Raju is still an outsider to the marriage—looking in from outside.
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Gaffur, who has driven Raju to Peak House, advises Raju to leave Rosie and Marco alone. In retrospect, Raju thinks he should have followed Gaffur’s advice. Marco exits the house again and enters Gaffur’s waiting taxi, informing Raju curtly that he will be closing his account at the house. Raju pulls Marco out of the taxi and demands that he tell Raju what is happening.
Gaffur once again reveals himself to be a good friend by counseling Raju to leave the couple alone, and yet again, Raju reveals his stubbornness by ignoring his friend’s counsel. Raju’s bold act of pulling Marco out of the taxi and demanding answers suggests that the relationship between Raju, Marco, and Rosie has developed well beyond the realms of a tourist guide and his clients—the fates of the three characters are now deeply intertwined.
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Instead, Marco goes back into the house and locks himself in his room. Rosie is also in the room—neither she nor her husband emerge to disclose what is going on. Raju goes to the room with food and opens the door, only to find Rosie lying silently, while Marco sits and stares blankly into space. Rosie tells Raju to leave them.
Raju’s decision to walk into Marco and Rosie’s room without being given permission again points to his boldness—Again and again, Raju acts well outside the bounds of his position as tourist guide. The sad state in which he finds husband and wife suggests that the marriage has reached a crisis point.
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Raju returns to Malgudi with Gaffur. In town, he attempts to return to his previous life at the railway shop, and he returns to showing tourists around. But his mind is troubled. He feels betrayed by Rosie, who seems to be allying herself with her husband. He is so bored and terrified by the normal life to which he has returned that he even stops taking tourists, leaving them to the station porter’s son to show around.
Raju’s inability to pick up his old life with any satisfaction or pleasure suggests what a disruptive event Marco and especially Rosie’s arrival in his life has been. Raju seems to have no appreciation for the stability and peace that he had enjoyed before the couple’s arrival in Malgudi. He seems to feel completely entitled to Rosie’s affections, as indicated by the fact that he feels “betrayed” by her, which disregards her status as a married woman, and the difficult position she is in as a result.
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A month passes. One day, Rosie appears at the door to Raju’s house. She is carrying a trunk and a bag. Raju, shocked by Rosie’s reappearance, tells his mother that Rosie will be a guest at their home. Raju is ashamed of his modest home and bad dress—as he was unprepared for Rosie’s arrival. His mother, also startled by Rosie’s appearance, asks her many questions and is impressed when she finds out that Rosie is an educated woman.
Rosie’s arrival at Raju’s house catches him off guard. His shame over his father’s modest house and his own bad dress points to his obsession with appearances, and with material wealth. He seems to misjudge Rosie in thinking that she cares for appearances. Raju’s mother’s awe at Rosie’s education sets up a contrast between the two women: Raju’s mother, belonging to an older generation, has clearly led a more traditional life, whereas Rosie’s access to education reflects her position as a modern woman.
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Raju hires Gaffur to take him and Rosie on an outing to the beach in Malgudi. There, Rosie tells Raju that Marco has left her, and she recounts the events of the past month with her husband. She tells him that when she had broached the topic of dancing, Marco had grown hostile, telling her that she had promised never to mention dancing again. Rosie was ready to compromise, even ready to give up dancing, but she had asked Marco to allow her to show him just one bit of dance. When she began to dance, he stopped her and dismissed her abilities. In response, she told him that Raju liked her dancing—which then led Marco to realize that she was having an affair with Raju. After a long night spent questioning her on the details of the affair, Marco retreated to the caves.
Marco’s complete dismissal of his wife’s passion for dance indicates how callous and insensitive Marco is as a husband. While feeling perfectly entitled to indulge his own passion for the study of ancient civilizations, he seems to look down on his wife’s art, and forbids her from indulging it. As such, in many ways Marco is an oppressive, insensitive husband who seeks to control his wife. Although Rosie betrays Marco by cheating on him, his own behavior towards her does not cast him in a good light. Rosie’s disclosure of the affair can be read as an attempt on her part to shake her husband out of his rigid rejection of her dance. And yet, the disclosure only serves to get her further in trouble, rather than to change Marco’s mind.
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After her disclosure, Rosie felt terribly sinful and sad over her affair with Raju, and she followed her husband to the caves, where he proceeded to ignore her for three hours. It was then that Raju had found them at Peak House. Marco continued ignoring Rosie for the next three weeks, and when she attempted to confront him, he told her that she was no longer his wife. Finally, Marco packed up, and she followed him down to the hotel in Malgudi. At the train station, to which she also followed him, he told her that he had no ticket for her. He entered the train and shut the door in her face. Having nowhere to turn, she went to Raju’s home.
Marco’s behavior towards Rosie after the disclosure of the affair reveals the depths of his cruelty. Certainly, he is upset by the discovery that his wife has betrayed him, but Rosie is clearly remorseful and repentant. In spite of her repentance, and in spite of making herself abject before him, he still refuses to show any empathy or consideration for her, subjecting her almost to complete silence for weeks. His act of leaving her at the train station without a ticket is not only cruel, but vindictive. Clearly, Marco is willing to go to great lengths to humiliate and punish his wife.
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After listening to Rosie’s story, Raju comforts her and tells her that he will make the world recognize her as the greatest artist. But things, at first, prove to be difficult, especially with Raju’s mother, who has begun to hear rumors about Rosie. She tells her son that she doesn’t want a dancing girl in the house. She wants the girl to return to her husband.
Raju seems willing to give Rosie what she wants—recognition of and support for her dance. But the couple’s unconventional relationship upsets the traditional hierarchies and boundaries of their society—as indicated in Raju’s mother’s objection to Rosie’s presence in the house. In her view, Rosie, as a married woman, belongs with her husband Marco, and not Raju.
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Totally caught up by Rosie’s arrival at his home, Raju further neglects the railway shop, which is not doing well under the care of the porter’s son, whom he has charged with looking after the shop. The railway gives Raju notice to quit, and Raju, losing his temper over this new setback, fights with the porter’s son and the porter. But to no avail—a new shopman takes over the railway shop. Raju also fights with him, leading to an end to his association with the railway.
Raju’s neglect and loss of the railway shop marks the beginning of his destruction of all that his father had built. Just as the opening of the railway shop had once reflected the family’s prosperity, now its closure points to a downward turn in the family’s fortunes. The violent confrontations that Raju gets involved in also suggest that Raju, under the influence of his infatuation with Rosie, is not entirely in control of his judgment or his emotions.
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