The Guide

by

R. K. Narayan

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The Villagers Character Analysis

Residents of the village of Mangal in southern India, located not far from a river bank. The villagers, following Velan’s example, put their faith in Raju as a spiritual guide. They suffer especially under a severe drought that afflicts them one year and puts their livelihoods in jeopardy. Turning to Raju for guidance, they draw him into a long fast to alleviate the drought.

The Villagers Quotes in The Guide

The The Guide quotes below are all either spoken by The Villagers or refer to The Villagers. 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 2 Quotes

Where could he go? He had not trained himself to make a living out of hard work. Food was coming to him unasked now. If he went away somewhere else certainly nobody was going to take the trouble to bring him food in return for just waiting for it.

Related Characters: Raju, The Villagers
Related Symbols: Water
Page Number: 24
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

Raju himself was not certain why he had advised that, and so he added, “If you do it you will know why.” The essence of sainthood seemed to lie in one’s ability to utter mystifying statements.

Related Characters: Raju (speaker), The Villagers
Related Symbols: Water
Page Number: 38
Explanation and Analysis:

Raju soon realized that his spiritual status would be enhanced if he grew a beard and long hair to fall on his nape. A clean-shaven, close-haired saint was an anomaly.

Related Characters: Raju, The Villagers
Related Symbols: Water
Page Number: 39
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 6 Quotes

[…] he suddenly noticed at the end of the year that the skies never dimmed with cloud. The summer seemed to continue. Raju inquired, “Where are the rains?”

Related Characters: Raju (speaker), The Villagers
Related Symbols: Water
Page Number: 70
Explanation and Analysis:

Did they expect him to starve for fifteen days and stand in knee-deep water for eight hours? He sat up.

Related Characters: Raju, The Villagers, Velan’s Brother
Related Symbols: Water
Page Number: 85
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Villagers Character Timeline in The Guide

The timeline below shows where the character The Villagers appears in The Guide. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
...Raju’s circle begins to widen as news of his success with Velan’s sister spreads. Other villagers begin to come sit by the river steps, stopping there after work to visit him. (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
One day, Raju hides himself in the temple. Villagers arrive as usual, wondering where he has gone to. They speak in praise of him,... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
...place where he will have such easy access to the nourishment that Velan and the villagers provide him. He decides, therefore, to play the role that Velan has given him. He... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
...temple beside the river for himself with a better backdrop. However, Velan and the other villagers don’t appear. Raju begins to worry that they may never come. Raju sees a boy... (full context)
Chapter 4
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
...Raju had sent to his uncle announces the return of the “saint,” and soon the villagers come en masse to visit Raju. Raju tells the villagers that their boys must learn,... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
...an actor. Indeed, on one occasion, he is asked to give a discourse by a villager, and finds himself suddenly lost. Casting about for something to say, Raju tells the gathered... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
At the next gathering, Raju chants holy refrains, which the audience repeats. The villagers also decorate the halls of the temple by the river. (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
...as spiritual guide, he also discourses on philosophy and prescribes remedies and medicines to ailing villagers. People also bring him their disputes, which he helps resolve. He is so busy amidst... (full context)
Chapter 6
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
...there has been no rain. The river has shrunk, and the food offerings of the villagers have grown meager. Everyone in the village is thinking about the rains, and they ask... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
...with Velan and tells him that the buffalo has died of poison. This reassures the villagers for a time—but cattle continue dying. (full context)
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
The local shopkeepers, eager to exploit the villagers’ desperation, raise their prices. Soon, a fight between the shopkeepers and customers engulfs the entire... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
...elders discussing the drought and the recent fight with the shopkeepers. Afraid to tell the villagers that he has mentioned the fight to Raju, he muddles up Raju’s message, suggesting that... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
The villagers decide to visit the swami by the river. At the gathering, Raju waits for the... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
...tells Raju that everyone is hoping for Raju to come through the ordeal safely. The villagers come to touch his feet and again compare him to Gandhi. Raju, reading into Velan’s... (full context)
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Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
Raju, finally alone, attempts to sleep, but finds it difficult. He wonders whether the villagers actually “expect him to starve for fifteen days,” as well as to stand for hours... (full context)