The Woman Question in Narayan's Fictional World

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CRP, International Islamic University Chittagong


This essay rereads the fictional world of R.K. Narayan with a view to encapsulating his viewpoint regarding the woman question. Women are not central to his thoughts; he does not advocate feminist politics either. Still women characters are always found in search of identity and in a quest for the definitions of the self in his novels. In "The Dark Room", one of his earlier novels, Narayan presents the suffocating existence of woman and culturally accepted beliefs about the subservient position of woman in society. Whereas in "The Painter of the Signs", one of his later novels, the characterization of woman has been completely reversed. In between these two polarized notions, "The Guide" acts as a signpost to pave the way to present the valorized female self. Our special focus is on "The Guide" and other related novels to examine the position of Narayan regarding the woman question


IIUC Studies Vol-5, Article-3, December 2008