The Guide


R. K. Narayan

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A system of hereditary classes in Hindu society, which distinguishes between people on the basis of social status in relation to notions of hereditary purity and pollution. One’s caste often also determines one’s occupation. For instance, Rosie, who belongs to a lower caste in the novel, is a dancer by virtue of her place in the social hierarchy: members of her caste (and of her family) traditionally devote themselves to the temples as dancers. Transgressing caste divides, for instance by marrying outside of one’s caste, is frowned upon in Hindu society. This is one reason why Raju’s mother is outraged by the relationship between Rosie and her son Raju—as Rosie belongs to a lower caste than that of her own family.

Caste Quotes in The Guide

The The Guide quotes below are all either spoken by Caste or refer to Caste. For each quote, you can also see the other terms 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 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:
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Caste Term Timeline in The Guide

The timeline below shows where the term Caste appears in The Guide. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
...that she comes from a family dedicated to the temples as dancers—the women of their caste are viewed as public women. As a girl Rosie had attended school, and had gone... (full context)
Chapter 8
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
...into a dancer’s backstage boy. The uncle addresses Rosie disrespectfully, alluding scathingly to her low caste and class. Rosie is devastated, but the uncle doesn’t relent, telling her she must clear... (full context)