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Narayan: The Man-Eater of Malgudi

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Introduction

Narayan: The Man-Eater of Malgudi As a starting point, refer to the section of chapter 5 involving Nataraj's consultation with the adjournment lawyer (pgs 60-64). Explore how Narayan "invests his story with all his warm, wicked and delightful sense of comedy." You should use to other sequences from the novel in your response. Narayan's humour in "The Man-Eater of Malgudi" relies on a lot of ironical situations as well as the interaction of several of his major and minor characters in unexpected ways, creating a distinct range of reactions which lead to comic and humorous situations. Apart from Nataraj's consultation with the adjournment lawyer in chapter 5, the opening of chapter 4 - when Vasu takes the liberty of taking Nataraj, without warning, on an excursion into Mempi Village - and a section of chapter 6 - when the septuagenarian visits Nataraj and learns that Vasu has shot his grandchild's dog - are also varied examples of how Narayan creates humour in different forms. The humour created on the trip to Mempi Village relies heavily on the unexpected and Nataraj's own internal thoughts while the episode concerning the murdered dog involves an array of characters, and Narayan uses dialogue as his main technique in creating a dark humour here. Nataraj's consultation with the adjournment lawyer is a small example of how Narayan creates a humorous situation out of typical human behaviour around other. ...read more.

Middle

The closing of this passage contains sardonic humour with a hint of irony - "Great words of wisdom they seemed to me in my fevered state". We know that they are not really "words of wisdom" but just an easy way out for justifying the fact that the lawyer charged him money unnecessarily. As his weakness and cowardice are revealed, humour arises through his justification of the lawyer's actions. Another sequence closely connected to Nataraj's weakness of being unable to defend himself is the opening of chapter 4, where Vasu takes Nataraj unwillingly for a ride in his Jeep. Vasu's aggressive nature contrasts with Nataraj's pacifist nature creating a comical situation between Narayan's two main characters. "You don't like being with me!" - Vasu's reaction is typical of him manipulating a situation to suit himself and is amusing as Nataraj's preceding question - "what's the meaning of this?" - contains no implication of Vasu's accusation. As previously mentioned, Nataraj's almost theatrical reactions to being kidnapped - he felt he was "at his mercy" and that he should "abandon [himself] to the situation" - remind us once again of his attitude towards the lawyer's philosophy on "mix[ing] up accounts"; it is laid-back and without much effort, not even attempting to defend his rights at all. Nataraj uses superfluous imagery to describe Vasu - "lord of the universe" - creating humour which arises from the former's own thoughts while at the same time this image can be ...read more.

Conclusion

This is amusing and we begin to feel a kind of pity for Nataraj, despite the fact that he is mainly responsible for his own condition. Timing again contributes to the comic aspect of this extract when "just at the crucial moment Sastri came in" creating more obstacles for Nataraj and increasing the comic factor of the passage. After Sastri's statement "I saw your grandchild crying..." dark humour is created because although the actual facts of the shooting of the dog & the crying grandchild are not funny, the way in which the story unravels is as a result of the interaction of the different characters involved. Sastri plays a large role regarding humour throughout the rest of this extract and the visual/aural image of Sastri "as if he had been poked with the butt of a rifle" is comic in nature while Narayan's choice of language within Nataraj's mental sarcastic comment - "Sastri insisted on enlightening him" - adds to the entertaining aspect of this extract, as does his later comment - "Knowing Vasu's style of speech with children, I could agree with the old man's point of view [regarding the danger posed by Vasu towards the children]". These three extracts all incorporate different combined techniques to achieve a gentle and sometimes mocking sense of humour which is unique to Narayan. Ultimately, the comic aspects add to the realism of the novel as a whole, making it more credible as a story and more enjoyable to read on the whole. Serene U6 ...read more.

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