The Guide

by

R. K. Narayan

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Marco Polo Character Analysis

The husband of Rosie, Marco is a serious, studious, reticent scholar of ancient civilizations whose only passion is for his work. His research into the sites of ancient civilization has turned him into an eternal tourist, as evidenced by the traveler’s clothes that he always wears. Arriving in the town of Malgudi on the railway one day to examine cave paintings, Marco hires Raju to show him the sights. His insensitivity and callousness towards everything other than his work is reflected in his neglect of Rosie during their visit to Malgudi. Marco’s controlling and dominant nature is also reflected in the ban that he imposes on Rosie, forbidding her to pursue the passion for classical dance which she nurtures. Marco’s rigidity and cruelty become apparent when, upon discovering that his unhappy and dissatisfied younger wife has commenced an affair with his tourist guide, he completely ignores her for three weeks, and then abandons her at the railway station of Malgudi as punishment. And yet, although he leaves his wife, Marco is clearly unable to let her go entirely, as suggested in the communication that he attempts to commence with her, via his lawyers, once she establishes herself as a famous dancer managed by Raju.

Marco Polo Quotes in The Guide

The The Guide quotes below are all either spoken by Marco Polo or refer to Marco Polo . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of The Guide published in 1958.
Chapter 5 Quotes

The man pulled out his gourd flute and played on it shrilly, and the cobra raised itself and darted hither and thither and swayed…[Rosie] stretched out her arm slightly and swayed it in imitation of the movement; she swayed her whole body to the rhythm—for just a second, but that was sufficient to tell me

what she was, the greatest dancer of the century.

Related Characters: Raju (speaker), Rosie / Nalini, Marco Polo
Related Symbols: The Serpent
Page Number: 51
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

I was accepted by Marco as a member of the family. From guiding tourists I seemed to have come to a sort of concentrated guiding of a single family.

Related Characters: Raju (speaker), Rosie / Nalini, Marco Polo
Related Symbols: Malgudi
Page Number: 88
Explanation and Analysis:

Rosie was lying on her bed with eyes shut. (Was she in a faint? I wondered for a second.) I had never seen her in such a miserable condition before. He was sitting in his chair, elbow on the table, his chin on his fist. I had never seen him so vacant before.

Related Characters: Raju (speaker), Rosie / Nalini, Marco Polo
Related Symbols: Malgudi
Page Number: 105
Explanation and Analysis:

“[…] I followed him, day after day, like a dog—waiting on his grace. He ignored me totally. I could never have imagined that one human being could ignore the presence of another human being so completely.”

Related Characters: Rosie / Nalini (speaker), Raju, Marco Polo
Related Symbols: Malgudi
Page Number: 118
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 9 Quotes

[…] I carried [the book] to my most secret, guarded place in the house—the liquor chest, adjoining the card room, the key of which I carried next to my heart—stuffed the volume out of sight, and locked it up. Nalini never went near it. I did not mention the book to her.

Related Characters: Raju (speaker), Rosie / Nalini, Marco Polo
Page Number: 156
Explanation and Analysis:

I found a scrap of paper and made a careful trial of Rosie’s signature. I had her sign so many checks and receipts each day that I was very familiar with it.

Then I carefully spread out the application form and wrote on the indicated line: “Rosie, Nalini.”

Related Characters: Raju (speaker), Rosie / Nalini, Marco Polo
Page Number: 164
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10 Quotes

I was now a sort of hanger-on in the house; ever since she had released me from police custody, the mastery had passed to her. I fretted inwardly at the thought of it. When the first shock of the affair had subsided, she became hardened. She never spoke to me except as to a tramp she had salvaged.

Related Characters: Raju (speaker), Rosie / Nalini, Marco Polo
Page Number: 173
Explanation and Analysis:
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Marco Polo Character Timeline in The Guide

The timeline below shows where the character Marco Polo appears in The Guide. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
...talents whenever he finds the opportunity and whenever they are out of range of her husband’s hearing. Her husband, in contrast to Rosie, is grotesque, always dressed like a man about... (full context)
Chapter 5
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
...day, a girl from Madras, by the name of Rosie, who visits Malgudi with her husband, asks to see a dancing cobra. While enchanted by the girl, Raju develops a deep... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
Raju, eager to please Rosie, searches for a cobra. While Marco is busy examining an ancient temple one day, Gaffur drives Raju and Rosie to a... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
...the hotel room and knocks, telling Rosie through the doorway that he is not her husband. He flatters and compliments her, saying that he couldn’t sleep all night, thinking of her... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
After dinner, Marco announces that he intends to spend the evening reading, and so Raju and Rosie go... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
The next morning, the mood is tense. Marco appears without Rosie, and when Raju presses him on her whereabouts, Marco says to leave... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
...excuse to check on Rosie, Raju pretends he hears Gaffur’s taxi and excuses himself from Marco for a brief visit to Peak House. There, he finds Rosie sitting on a boulder... (full context)
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
Rosie, perhaps prompted by Raju’s flattery, opens up about her conflicts with Marco. She tells Raju that she had married Marco because of his wealth and class. She... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
Gaffur, having fixed his taxi, arrives at Peak House, but Marco, still deep in his cave study, wants to remain at the House to continue with... (full context)
Chapter 7
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
...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.... (full context)
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
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... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
...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.... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
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... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
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... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Instead, Marco goes back into the house and locks himself in his room. Rosie is also in... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
...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.... (full context)
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
...want a dancing girl in the house. She wants the girl to return to her husband. (full context)
Chapter 9
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
One day, while Raju and Rosie are in Malgudi, a book arrives from Marco, Rosie’s long-forgotten husband. One section of the book, entitled “Mempi Hills Pictures,” includes a note... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Three days later, Marco’s photo appears in a Bombay magazine with a positive review of the book. Rosie comes... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
...says that he thought she wouldn’t be interested. Rosie cries in the dark, saying that Marco was her husband, and that she deserved the way he left her. Unsettled by Rosie’s... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
...to Rosie from lawyers in Madras. Raju opens the letter and reads it. Sent by Marco’s lawyers, it concerns the release of a box of jewelry to Rosie. Raju, afraid of... (full context)
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Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
One night, while sleeping beside Rosie, Raju wakes up, thinking about the letter from Marco’s lawyers. He goes downstairs and forges Rosie’s signature on the forms that the lawyers have... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
...takes Raju aside and tells him that he has a warrant for his arrest—initiated by Marco—for forgery. Raju, trying to cover for himself, explains to the superintendent that he had signed... (full context)
Chapter 10
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
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... (full context)
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
...her self-sufficiency, realizing that she did not need him, and had never needed him nor Marco all along. (full context)
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
...raises from her performances, she hires a reputable, but expensive, lawyer to defend Raju against Marco in the upcoming trial. (full context)
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Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
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... (full context)
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Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
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...of the debts that Raju had accumulated. Mani further informs Raju that, after the trial, Marco and Rosie never met, going their separate ways. (full context)