The Guide

by

R. K. Narayan

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Rosie / Nalini Character Analysis

The young and beautiful wife of Marco, and love object of Raju, Rosie’s most striking quality is her immense genius for dance—most clearly manifested in the “serpent dance” she performs only on rare occasions. Descended from a poor, lower-caste family who have traditionally devoted themselves to the art of temple dancing, Rosie, in spite of her own passion for dance, attempts to escape the constraints of her caste and poverty by marrying a wealthy, educated, upper-caste man. And yet, rather than providing Rosie with deliverance, the men with whom she becomes entangled inevitably attempt to repress her creativity and independence. Not only does Marco condemn and ban Rosie’s pursuit of dance, but Raju, with whom she commences an affair soon after she arrives in Malgudi with her husband, also lets her down. While Raju genuinely supports and encourages Rosie’s pursuit of her art at first, once she achieves fame as the dancer “Nalini,” he begins to exploit her success in his role as her manager to enrich himself. Not only that, but Raju repeatedly lies to and deceives Rosie, and attempts to control her contact with others because of his jealousy. And yet, try as they might, the men in Rosie’s lives ultimately fail to contain and control her. Forceful, free-spirited, and a brilliant artist, her artistic and feminine powers are such that, by the end of the novel, she has discarded the chains that both men have sought to confine her in, and is outshining both as a free and independent woman, successful beyond measure.

Rosie / Nalini Quotes in The Guide

The The Guide quotes below are all either spoken by Rosie / Nalini or refer to Rosie / Nalini. 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 8 Quotes

“You are not of our family? Are you of our clan?” He again waited for her to answer and answered himself. “No. Are you of our caste? No. Our class? No. Do we know you? No. Do you belong to this house? No. In that case, why are you here? After all, you are a dancing girl. We do not admit them in our families. Understand?”

Related Characters: Raju (speaker), Raju’s Uncle (speaker), Rosie / Nalini, Raju’s Mother
Page Number: 133
Explanation and Analysis:

I dressed myself soberly for the part in a sort of rough-spun silk shirt and an upper cloth and a handspun and handwoven dhoti, and I wore rimless glasses—a present from Marco at one of our first meetings. I wore a wristwatch—all this in my view lent such weight to what I said that they had to listen to me respectfully. I too felt changed; I had ceased to be the old Railway Raju.

Related Characters: Raju (speaker), Rosie / Nalini
Related Symbols: The Railway
Page Number: 139
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 9 Quotes

I silently fretted. I liked her to be happy—but only in my company. This group of miscellaneous art folk I didn’t quite approve.

Related Characters: Raju (speaker), Rosie / Nalini
Page Number: 149
Explanation and Analysis:

It seemed absurd that we should earn less than the maximum we could manage. My philosophy was that while it lasted the maximum money had to be squeezed out. We needed all the money in the world.

Related Characters: Raju (speaker), Rosie / Nalini
Page Number: 153
Explanation and Analysis:

[…] 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:

I felt like telling Mani, “Be careful. She’ll lead you on before you know where you are, and then you will find yourself in my shoes all of a sudden! Beware the snake woman!” I knew my mind was not working either normally or fairly. I knew I was growing jealous of her self-reliance. But I forgot for the

moment that she was doing it all for my sake.

Related Characters: Raju (speaker), Rosie / Nalini, Mani
Related Symbols: The Serpent
Page Number: 176
Explanation and Analysis:

But on Friday and Saturday I turned the last page of the Hindu with trembling fingers—and the last column in its top portion always displayed the same block, Nalini’s photograph, the name of the institution where she was performing, and the price of tickets. Now at this corner of South India, now there, next week in Ceylon, and another week in Bombay or Delhi. Her empire was expanding rather than shrinking.

Related Characters: Raju (speaker), Rosie / Nalini
Page Number: 181-182
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Guide PDF

Rosie / Nalini Character Timeline in The Guide

The timeline below shows where the character Rosie / Nalini appears in The Guide. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
...to Raju telling Velan his life story. His troubles began, he says, when he met Rosie, a woman who, in spite of the exotic name she went by, was an Indian... (full context)
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Raju flatters and praises Rosie’s talents whenever he finds the opportunity and whenever they are out of range of her... (full context)
Chapter 5
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One 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... (full context)
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Raju, eager to please Rosie, searches for a cobra. While Marco is busy examining an ancient temple one day, Gaffur... (full context)
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...Raju and Gaffur duly arrive at the hotel at the allotted time. Marco emerges without Rosie and wants to set off in spite of her absence to examine cave friezes at... (full context)
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Raju goes to the hotel room and knocks, telling Rosie through the doorway that he is not her husband. He flatters and compliments her, saying... (full context)
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...outside of Malgudi, later that afternoon. Gaffur drops them off and returns to the town. Rosie is in ecstasy over the wild and beautiful surroundings. Joseph, the man who looks after... (full context)
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...dinner, Marco announces that he intends to spend the evening reading, and so Raju and Rosie go to sit in the house’s glass veranda, through which they can watch wild animals... (full context)
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The next morning, the mood is tense. Marco appears without Rosie, and when Raju presses him on her whereabouts, Marco says to leave her alone. Raju... (full context)
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Looking for an excuse to check on Rosie, Raju pretends he hears Gaffur’s taxi and excuses himself from Marco for a brief visit... (full context)
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Rosie, perhaps prompted by Raju’s flattery, opens up about her conflicts with Marco. She tells Raju... (full context)
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When Raju touches Rosie after she finishes speaking, she does not refuse his touch. Emboldened, Raju again flatters her,... (full context)
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...to continue with his research. After they decide to remain at Peak House, Raju accompanies Rosie back to Malgudi with Gaffur to pick up more things for the extended stay. As... (full context)
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...about his disappearance. Raju avoids his mother’s questions and instead takes the opportunity to show Rosie the sights. Gaffur, who drives them around, explicitly warns Raju that Rosie is a married... (full context)
Chapter 7
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...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... (full context)
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While Rosie continues her affair with Raju, she also begins to show excessive consideration for Marco, still... (full context)
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Raju and Rosie go up to Peak House, with the plan that Rosie will speak to Marco and... (full context)
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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... (full context)
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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... (full context)
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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... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
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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.... (full context)
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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... (full context)
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After her disclosure, Rosie felt terribly sinful and sad over her affair with Raju, and she followed her husband... (full context)
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After listening to Rosie’s story, Raju comforts her and tells her that he will make the world recognize her... (full context)
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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... (full context)
Chapter 8
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...and offended. Raju’s mother has stopped speaking to him, although she is still civil to Rosie. She thinks that her son has ruined everything that his father built. (full context)
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...Gaffur’s counsel, but he isn’t happy to hear Gaffur tell him that he must send Rosie away. Raju quarrels with him, and Gaffur leaves. With the help of a lawyer, Raju... (full context)
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...one day at the house. The uncle castigates Raju. When Raju leaves him to watch Rosie practicing her dance, the uncle follows him, then insults Raju by telling him he has... (full context)
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...fight by saying that the train is arriving in an hour and he asks whether Rosie is ready to leave. Raju’s mother, too, asks whether Rosie has packed her things. Raju... (full context)
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After his mother’s departure, Raju and Rosie continue living as a married couple. Rosie diligently practices her art every day, and, after... (full context)
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Raju begins looking for opportunities for Rosie and approaches the Albert Mission School. In order to more convincingly play his part as... (full context)
Chapter 9
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Continuing to narrate to Velan, Raju recalls Rosie’s rise to stardom. While, in retrospect, Raju reflects that Rosie—by virtue of her genius and... (full context)
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Raju and Rosie move to a new, large, two-story house in a fashionable part of Malgudi. The house... (full context)
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For her part, Rosie is happy to receive as guests the artists—actors, musicians, and dancers—who come to call on... (full context)
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Raju and Rosie, followed by a posse of musicians, travel to engagements hundreds of miles away, sometimes remaining... (full context)
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As a result of Rosie’s popularity and her growing number of engagements, Raju begins earning enormous amounts of money, spending... (full context)
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One day, while Raju and Rosie are in Malgudi, a book arrives from Marco, Rosie’s long-forgotten husband. One section of the... (full context)
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...later, Marco’s photo appears in a Bombay magazine with a positive review of the book. Rosie comes running downstairs to show Raju the magazine. She wants to see Marco’s book and... (full context)
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A few days later, while in bed, Rosie asks Raju where he is hiding the book. Raju guesses that Mani, his secretary, has... (full context)
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For the next three months, Raju and Rosie continue their engagements during the all-important season of music and dance in south India. When... (full context)
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One night, while sleeping beside Rosie, Raju wakes up, thinking about the letter from Marco’s lawyers. He goes downstairs and forges... (full context)
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Raju and Rosie depart for a performance in a city 60 miles away from Malgudi. The show, a... (full context)
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As he watches Rosie on stage, Raju thinks of his mother, to whom he occasionally sends a postcard and... (full context)
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...explains to the superintendent that he had signed the form sent by Marco’s lawyers because Rosie was busy. Raju convinces the policeman to wait until the show is over, and goes... (full context)
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At home, Raju pleads with the superintendent to give him more time to speak to Rosie. When Raju finally confesses his deed to Rosie, she is stunned and says that the... (full context)
Chapter 10
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...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... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
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Rosie wants to repay their debts. She considers going back to Marco. She says that she... (full context)
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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... (full context)
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With the money that Rosie raises from her performances, she hires a reputable, but expensive, lawyer to defend Raju against... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
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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... (full context)
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...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... (full context)