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R.K. Narayan: Myths And Archetypes in His Novels

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Item Code: BAG118
Publisher: B.R. Publishing Corporation
Author: Ashok Kumar Jha
Language: English
Edition: 2023
ISBN: 9788176461382
Pages: 155
Other Details 9.00 X 6.00 inch
Weight 330 gm
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Book Description
About the book

This book attempts to study gods and godmen in R.K.Narayan's novels as they make an indispensable part of the Malgudi milieu. A writer like him, who is so much committed to phrase Indian culture into English language, cannot miss them in his writings. Mythical gods and goddesses and archetypa figures have been studied into two separate chapters. An attempt has also been made to study beliefs and superstitions as they make an indispensable part of a society where all acts are performed at the instance of god and godmen who are treated with all reverence, nay, at par with God Himself. Godmen have been given a separate treatment in one chapter. Narayan often looks at them with an Indian's eye, their positive role in our society.

About the Author

Dr. Ashok Kumar Jha is a Senior Lecturer in English at Jawaharlal Nehru College, Pasighat (Arunachal Pradesh). He has been teaching English in this college since 1989. Born on May 2, 1960, Dr. Jha hails from Khojpur village under Madhubani district of Bihar. He passed out his Secondary School Examination in 1976 from Williams High School, Supaul (Bihar) and completed his B.A. (Hons.) from C.M.College, Darbhanga. He secured the first position at the M.A. (English) examination 1984 of L.N. Mithila University, Darbhanga. He was awarded Ph.D. for his thesis Myths and Archetypes in R.K. Narayan's Novels in January 1996 from the same University. Though his special field of interest is Indian writings in English, he is also interested in Linguistics.


R.K. Narayan (born 10th October, 1906) happens to be one of the top three writers of contemporary Indian English fiction. He is well-known for his sparkling wit and humour, his keenly observant eye, his pure and unflowery language, his unmistakable locale, and his persistent use of Indian myths and legends, and these add a peculiar touch to his novels. Some scholars might consider Narayan's The Financial Expert as his masterpiece, because it is so close to life-situations as represented by the rise and fall of Margayya, the financial wizard. But I, for one, attach great significance to his Sahitya Akademi award-winning novel, The Guide (1958), where Narayan's comic mode of perception reaches its acmè and where his story remains so attractive unto the very end. Even his art of characterization is marvellously handled: Rosie, Marco and Raju are all boldly drawn.

This critical study by Dr. Ashok Kumar Jha is an attempt to explore the novels of R.K. Narayan in the light of his application of the Hindu myths and archetypes in them. These mythical figures-popular Indian gods and goddesses-tend to create an atmosphere beyond time and space and enable the novelist to connect the past with the present. In this way, they contribute a good deal to the creation of a living tradition, to the establishment of a healthy culture, and to the evolution of an unbroken civilization. Beliefs and superstitions are an integral part of the mythical formulations. Sometimes myths and archetypes are evoked to preserve and uphold human values, which transcend the barriers of clime or clan. That's why Narayan's novels are of universal appeal, touching the inner chords of the entire mankind. What is most appealing in him is that he does not parade his knowledge of the Indian epics and puranas. He keeps himself free from the metaphysical leanings of Raja Rao and the leftist (ever propagandist) propensities of Mulk Raj Anand. The myths and archetypes (those personages who have become our ideals or prototypes for one or the other virtue-though they are not precisely gods and goddesses) used by Narayan come as naturally and effortlessly to him as leaves to a tree.


That English, like other Indian languages, has acquired the place of intellectual and emotional make-up in the life of an average Indian is now an acknowledged fact. Its increasing popularity is evidenced by the bulk of qualitative publications every year by Indians in the field of creative writings, which has got due recognition in the country and the world at large. With its own special feature, it is now recognised as 'Indian English' which undoubtedly indicates the life and vitality the language has acquired at the hands of Indians. Though the process of connecting it with life was initiated even before R.K. Narayan and his other two great contemporaries, Mulk Raj Anand and Raja Rao, they proved a milestone in this process.

R.K. Narayan's writings acquire shape without any outside force and at the same time he is within the reach of all types of readers. His age-old Indian approach to life. giving more importance to unseen forces than human endeavour, his unique sense of humour and his keen observant eye giving rise to his ironic vision, give his works a permanence of appeal, crossing the boundary of time and space. As an Indian, who believes in rich cultural heritage of India, he disallows tragic vision in his writings. His way of handling language and expressing Indian sensibility through English is as effortless as the flow of water falling from the snow-capped mountain.

The present work is a humble attempt to study myths and archetypes in the novels of Narayan. One of the functions of myths is to explain the fundamental laws of Nature which confirm their validity beyond time and space. This function of myth is performed by mythical gods and goddesses and archetypal figures especially in Indian contexts. Mythical gods and goddesses and archetypal figures also perform another function of myth-to connect the past with the present and hence to preserve the unbroken flow of tradition, dear to all civilizations. These two functions of myths also include beliefs and superstitions as beliefs have been able to s mankind from time immemorial and when they lose their sustaining values, they become superstitions. Likewise godmen, in Indian society, are directly involved in preserving human values reflected through myths. In fact, the function of myth in literature is to preserve human values especially in the Indian context. This is the reason why literary artists and godmen were not separate beings in the ancient and medieval India.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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