The Conflict between Western culture and Indian culture dipicted in 'The Guide' by R.K. Narayan and 'English Lessons and other stories' by Shauna Singh Baldwin.

Essay by kohamHigh School, 11th gradeA+, February 2007

download word file, 5 pages 0.0

Downloaded 51 times

There is a major cultural comparison that exists between 'The Guide' by R.K. Narayan and 'English Lessons and other stories' by Shauna Singh Baldwin. The Guide focuses on Narayan's protagonist Raju who alternates between a career as a holy man and his account to velan of his previous career as a tour guide and lover where as Baldwin's collection of fifteen short stories talks about Indian women trying to come to grips with their situation of cultural displacement in North America.

Both novels share a common theme that is based on the conflict between Indian and western culture which leads to cultural displacement and adaptability to more than one role in different societies. The Guide focuses on the transformation of Raju from his role as a tour guide to that of a spiritual guide and similarly, English Lessons and other stories focus on Indian women's courage and adaptability necessary to maintain an Indian identity while living in an English-speaking country.

This cultural displacement and adaptability to various roles is interpreted in both novels.

In The Guide the theme that is based on Indian culture implies the beliefs of Hinduism specifically the theory of "Karma'. The theory of karma is enunciated in the life of Raju, the protagonist. According to Hinduism, it is a foregone conclusion that an individual lives and dies in accordance with his karma and vasanas (impressions the personality has gathered from its own thoughts and actions of the past or previous lives). Desires and thoughts which spring forth from one's vasanas makes it appear inevitable. It can also be seen in the text, where Narayan talks about Rosie. When she learns of Raju's arrest, she comments,

"I felt all along you were not doing right things. This is karma" (The Guide, line 49-56, p.193)

In The...