The Guide

by

R. K. Narayan

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Guide can help.

Malgudi Symbol Analysis

Malgudi Symbol Icon

The fictional town of Malgudi represents India in miniature. Like the country of which it is a part, Malgudi undergoes tremendous changes, including the arrival of industrialization and modernization, as symbolized by the railway line that is newly built there. Furthermore, it is a microcosm of the society at large, as it is home to people who occupy various social and economic positions. The Sait, for instance, is clearly wealthier than Raju and his family, while the poor people who occupy the huts outside of town, where Raju takes Rosie to meet the snake charmer, are much poorer, and most likely of low caste. Malgudi’s geography also reflects the wider country: the town itself, with its condensed population, recalls the large urban centers of India, while the beautiful wild landscape that surrounds it, such as that found at Mempi Hills, where Raju takes Marco and Rosie to look at cave paintings, suggests the country’s extravagant natural scenery.

Malgudi Quotes in The Guide

The The Guide quotes below all refer to the symbol of Malgudi. 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 3 Quotes

One fine day, beyond the tamarind tree the station building was ready. The steel tracks gleamed in the sun; the signal posts stood with their red and green stripes and their colorful lamps; and our world was neatly divided into this side of the railway line and that side.

Related Characters: Raju (speaker), Raju’s Father, Raju’s Mother, Velan
Related Symbols: The Railway, Malgudi
Page Number: 27
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 5 Quotes

I pointed out to him something as the greatest, the highest, the only one in the world. I gave statistics out of my head. I mentioned a relic as belonging to the thirteenth century before Christ or the thirteenth century after Christ, according to the mood of the hour.

Related Characters: Raju (speaker), Velan
Related Symbols: Malgudi
Page Number: 43
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:
Get the entire The Guide LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Guide PDF

Malgudi Symbol Timeline in The Guide

The timeline below shows where the symbol Malgudi appears in The Guide. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
...a child, he had grown up in a small house opposite the railway station of Malgudi, in a house built by his father long before trains arrived in the town. (full context)
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
Raju remembers being back in Malgudi, his mother telling him stories as they waited for his father to close his shop.... (full context)
Chapter 2
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
Raju tells Velan of the construction of the railway in Malgudi, across the street from his father’s house. Construction workers have begun work on the line,... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
...contemplates his future. He must decide whether he will go back to his hometown of Malgudi, where he will have to bear the giggles and looks of the townspeople, or whether... (full context)
Chapter 3
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
Raju tells of the day that the railway line is finally completed in Malgudi. Everyone in the town is given a holiday to celebrate. The railway station is decorated,... (full context)
Chapter 5
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
After his father dies, Raju comes to be known as “Railway Raju.” Visitors arriving in Malgudi by train ask him for his guidance in exploring the sites of the town. With... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
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 the girl, Raju... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
...an ancient temple one day, Gaffur drives Raju and Rosie to a remote part of Malgudi. There, they meet a snake charmer who, under a tree, reveals a dancing cobra. Rosie... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
...absence to examine cave friezes at Mempi Hills, a wild area on the outskirts of Malgudi. At Raju’s prodding, Marco reveals that he is having trouble with his wife, which is... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
...by Gaffur—arrives at Peak House, a lodging at the top of Mempi Hills outside of Malgudi, later that afternoon. Gaffur drops them off and returns to the town. Rosie is in... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
...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 he drives them... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
In Malgudi, Raju briefly stops at his house, where his mother confronts him, full of questions about... (full context)
Chapter 7
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
Returning to his past in Malgudi, Raju speaks to Velan about how he continued to devote himself to Marco’s care. Marco... (full context)
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
...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... (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... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
Raju returns to Malgudi with Gaffur. In town, he attempts to return to his previous life at the railway... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
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... (full context)
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Chapter 9
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
Raju’s creditor, the Sait, is still pursing Raju in the courts of Malgudi. Upon learning from his lawyer that he must make mortgage payments to the Sait to... (full context)
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
Raju and Rosie move to a new, large, two-story house in a fashionable part of Malgudi. The house is full of servants, musicians, and dance teachers. It is also full of... (full context)
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... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
...during the all-important season of music and dance in south India. When they return to Malgudi, Raju, going through the mail, finds a letter addressed to Rosie from lawyers in Madras.... (full context)
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
Raju and Rosie depart for a performance in a city 60 miles away from Malgudi. The show, a benefit performance for the construction of a maternity ward, is important. Influential... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
...back inside the auditorium. After the show, the superintendent accompanies Raju and Rosie back to Malgudi. (full context)
Chapter 10
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
...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.... (full context)