Postcolonial Text / Author

How to Teach The Guide as a Culturally Different Text

Chelva Kanaganayakam, Department of English/University of Toronto

In November 2003, two faculty members in the Department of English at the University of Toronto organized a workshop on “How to teach a culturally different text” in order to draw attention to and stimulate discussion about the kinds of issues that have become increasingly common in postcolonial pedagogy.[1] They borrowed the title of the workshop from Gayatri Spivak’s, essay entitled “How to Read a ‘Culturally Different’ Text” which was written in 1994 as a way of theorizing the interpretive process associated with the relatively new body of writing called postcolonial literature that was fast becoming institutionalized. Spivak’s essay was a pioneering attempt to foreground the function of critical practice in postcolonial studies. It attempted to provide a methodology and a framework for looking at “other” texts that do not benefit from the existence of a clearly defined literary history.

Of the two faculty members who organized the workshop, one specialized in Caribbean literature and the other in First Nations writing. Both of them were sharply conscious that with demographic changes, with diasporic movements, with interdisciplinarity, and a host of other factors, the instructor is expected to perform a very different role from what is expected of one who teaches, say, Chaucer or medieval literature. In situations that deal with non-mainstream literature, it is difficult to prejudge what the class would know, how the students would engage with the text, and what they would expect of the instructor. For instance, Daniel Justice, who teaches First Nations literature, raised the troubling issue of authority and legitimacy in a context that implicitly associates ethnic or racial belonging with expertise. The workshop, then, was an attempt to try and understand what it meant to teach postcolonial or new literatures to a multicultural, heterogeneous body of students. “Culturally different” in this sense meant literatures which were non-mainstream, non Anglo-centric.

These questions about pedagogy and relevance ought to have been raised by us many of us, who, thirty years ago, were undergraduates in cities such as Colombo, Lagos, or Delhi. Our curriculum, then, was almost entirely alien in cultural terms. There was very little in our cultural makeup that would have enabled us to identify with the landscape or preoccupation of, say, T.S. Eliot. At that time there would have been an urgency to the question of relevance since postcolonial nations were preoccupied with the local and the so-called authentic. By a strange irony, the feverish pace of decolonization did not affect those of us who were committed to the study of English literature. Of course, there were many reasons why we chose not to ask such questions. Frantz Fanon, Ashis Nandy, and several others, in recent years, have told us eloquently why we were more interested in memorizing Wordsworth than wondering why we had never seen daffodils.[2] The fact remains, however, that the Otherness of texts was not considered problematic, despite all the political and cultural activity to eradicate the Other. Now the question appears with increasing frequency, in the East and the West, sometimes obliquely, and sometimes with insistence. In its different manifestations, it invokes notions of authority, subjectivity, hybridity, globalization, interdisciplinarity and authenticity. The relation between the instructor and the class is now far more dialogic, with all its attendant advantages and shortcomings.

My own slant to this issue takes a slightly different form, although I recognize that pragmatic pedagogical considerations are crucial. The ideology of the university and the curriculum are central to pedagogy, together with the literary marketplace and the establishment of a canon. One cannot underestimate the importance of these issues, but they are either systemic or in some ways a consequence of larger economic considerations. The present inquiry is about the intellectual framework that governs the pedagogic process itself. The complex route through which a culturally different text finds its way into the curriculum merits serious attention. What happens to that text in different locations is equally important as an area of inquiry. The present paper moves away from these questions to focus on specific aspects of methodology as they relate to the practice of pedagogy. In simple terms, how does one teach a text which deals with a cultural context that is largely unfamiliar to the students?

Spivak’s reading of R.K. Narayan’s The Guide, despite its limitations, offers a useful point at which to begin an inquiry into pedagogy and postcolonial studies. The complex reading of Narayan’s novel offered by Spivak serves as a salutary reminder that we need to rethink some of the fundamental concerns that frame contemporary postcolonial studies. Spivak herself invites such an approach by drawing attention to the debates sparked by writers such as Ngugi wa Thiong’o, and goes on to invoke both the Sanskrit literary tradition and the more recent preoccupation of the Subaltern Studies group in order to position her perspective. She makes it clear that an uncritical acceptance of universalist norms might well be counterproductive.

Spivak is clearly not the only critic to attempt a culturally sensitive reading of The Guide. A number of scholars, in recent years, have attempted critical interventions that have shaped our reading of Narayan. Fawzia Afzal-Khan, for example, reads Narayan from the perspective of genre and ideology. Chitra Sankaran, in her analysis of Narayan (which includes a long discussion of The Guide) demonstrates how the use of mythology frames his fiction. Such approaches are important in that they offer alternative readings that derive from “local” rather than universal concerns. The present essay, however, focuses on Spivak largely as a way of re-opening the question of creating a culturally sensitive discourse as pedagogical strategy.

Notions of decolonization have been for us an obsessive presence, and those notions combined with interdisciplinarity and globalization have shifted our focus in ways that are potentially confusing. Postcolonial theory has in practice privileged a comparative and holistic model that does not always account for regional and national differences. A number of theorists have enabled us to construct an oppositional and recuperative framework within which we look at the entire body of postcolonial literature. While that has played a crucial role in demarcating much-needed boundaries, it has also erased differences and blurred distinctions. Thus the issue of how to teach culturally different texts cannot be seen apart from the question of how critics understand and interpret them. For South Asia, the distinction between texts written in English and the vernaculars needs to be addressed in ways that are different from the literary context of other nations or regions. While similarities exist among nations and there is much to be gained by adopting a comparative framework, it is equally important to be sensitive to the specificities of the literary traditions of particular nations or regions. To put it differently, there is a pressing need to step back from the critical assumptions that have been dominant for the past twenty or thirty years in order to renegotiate the terms within which postcolonial literature needs to be looked at. Although the focus of the present paper is South Asian literature, it is evident that an analysis along similar lines can be undertaken for the literature of any other region.

There are at least three major positions that frame the question of cultural difference and literature, each one complementing the other. The first issue is the complex situation of a multicultural class with very different cultural, religious and political beliefs, studying texts they identity with. Leslie Sanders, who teaches at York University in Toronto, recently wrote about the need to recognize that students now bring to the classroom very different experiences that the instructor must acknowledge and even learn from. Her concern is with pedagogical paradigms that no longer have the same value they once had. In a class where some students know a great deal more than the instructor about socio-cultural context, the pedagogical situation is bound to change. Sanders raises a number of significant questions, but they address only one aspect of the present topic. The essay by Sanders complements much that one hears by way of anecdotes in that it demonstrates that culturally different texts may well create an intersubjective field among students, with the consequence that the instructor might be an “outsider.” In other words, a white (or for that matter, South Asian or Chinese) instructor teaching an African text to a group of black students might have the additional task of assessing the limits of his or her estrangement from the cultural milieu of the text.[3]

Another position is articulated by Arun Mukherjee, a scholar well known for her contribution to postcolonial theory. Referring to a particular instance when she had to teach a Canadian text, Mukherjee laments the fact that regardless of how much she tried, her class insisted on reading the text along very traditional, universalist lines. She expresses her disappointment with the kind of resistance she encountered in trying to introduce a political dimension to her discussion. Sanders refers to the predicament of being an outsider while Mukherjee discusses the frustration of being an insider. Mukherjee’s article adds a further dimension to the issue of cultural difference, since her problems begin when she attempts to look at a “mainstream” text through a non-traditional lens.

Both Sanders and Mukherjee draw attention quite specifically to the classroom context, and both implicitly discuss the ideological framing that includes both instructors and students. The concerns they raise are not dissimilar, but they offer two different perspectives. While both Sanders and Mukherjee point to the predicament of the instructor experiencing a sense of marginalization, they arrive at the same point from very different angles. Sanders is conscious of a strong identification between students and the text while Mukherjee laments the resistance among students to unfamiliar areas of experience.

In articulating a third position, Spivak adopts a mode that is more overtly didactic. She too is preoccupied with the act of teaching, of providing a framework for interpreting “other” texts. Her concern, however, is not the instructor vis-à-vis students, but the initial preparation that the reader undertakes before reading a text. Even before looking specifically at Spivak, the whole debate about cultural difference can be dismissed with the admonition that since texts emerge from very specific contexts, it is important form the reader to understand that particular framework. When the Singapore writer Kirpal Singh wrote a poem about wearing turbans, he made it clear in interviews that he expected readers to try and understand that wearing turbans in Singapore has particular connotations.[4] Similarly, in a very useful essay called “Dirty Silence: Impure Sounds in New Zealand Poetry,” the New Zealand poet Bill Manhire speaks about one of his own poems called “Phar Lap.” He talks about the impurity of the poem, its reference to a famous racing horse, the origin of its name in Sinhala. In short, it is a poem “made impure by the languages and meanings conversing somewhere inside it” (156). One cannot underestimate the importance of the cultural education that Manhire is referring to. He wants the reader to be well-informed when approaching unfamiliar texts. This dimension is, admittedly, a major concern for authors, readers, and publishers. Critics now feel the need to provide glossaries to enlighten the unfamiliar reader. Authors, in one form or shape, gloss unfamiliar expressions by italicizing the local, or by restating sentences that are incomprehensible to the Western reader. Changes are made to accommodate the West. Bapsi Sidhwa’s Ice-Candy Man, as we know, came to be called Cracking India when it appeared in the West. How these changes are made and how the text gets configured is again an interesting topic in itself. The proliferation of handbooks and encyclopedia-like publications is in some senses a response to the problem of understanding at a rudimentary level. That, however, is the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

What is at stake is probably a little more than that, and that is probably why Spivak felt the need to write her essay about Narayan’s novel. Her choice of Narayan is probably no accident, since so much has been written to establish Narayan as the quintessential Indian novelist. Before looking at Spivak in some detail, William Walsh’s work on postcolonial authors, including Narayan, would be a useful point of comparison. Walsh recognizes the uniqueness of Narayan, but he adds that Narayan’s art is “engaging because of the charm and authenticity of its Indian setting, moving because of the universal human nature it incarnates.” And then he very deftly naturalizes Narayan: “And it carries with it at every point a species of humour as appealing and homely as freckles on the skin” (23). Walsh has, in his monograph on Narayan, an assessment of The Guide, which is illuminating, but it certainly underscores the limitations of his universalist approach. About Raju’s transformation, Walsh offers a psychological reading: “[Raju] cannot refuse the wishes of others for him. He is obeying that law by which our natures are largely constituted by the expectations of others” (23). Here too, the impulse to universalize is counterproductive. Admittedly, Walsh’s mode is now less prevalent in academic circles, although it is probably alive and well in journalistic writing.

The Guide, to summarize briefly, is about Raju, who begins his life as a shopkeeper and tourist guide and later becomes infatuated with a dancer called Rosie. He becomes her manager, makes a considerable sum of money, overreaches himself, is sent to jail for forgery and later, against his will, becomes a saint. It is not without significance that the novel begins after the career is over, and we, as readers, overhear the past when it is told to a willing devotee. The novel continues to retain its place as one of Narayan’s most popular works, and its transformation into a movie has ensured its ongoing appeal.

It is because we have accepted the Walsh mode of criticism for so long that Spivak’s analysis of The Guide comes to us as a major breakthrough. Spivak’s terms of reference are impressive. She is not only an “insider” but a formidable one at that. She begins by asserting that it is unfortunate that neither the student nor the teacher is willing to read texts historically and/or politically. And that is precisely what she goes on to demonstrate in her essay. Her positions as a feminist, deconstructionist and a member of the Subaltern Studies group are all constitutive aspects of her approach to the novel.

Spivak prefaces her argument by stating that the Indo-Anglian writer must be seen as one who occupies a very different space from that of the vernacular writer. The issue goes beyond language to readership, neocolonialism, and class: “If literature is a vehicle of cultural self-representation, the ‘Indian cultural identity’ projected by Indo-Anglian fiction, and more obliquely, poetry, can give little more than a hint of the seriousness and contemporaneity of the many ‘Indias’ fragmentarily represented in the many Indian literature” (127). In short, according to her, “reportorial realist writers” such as Narayan become “novelists of the nation as local colour, the nostalgic rather than the hyper-real” (128). For the most part, Indo-Anglian writing, particularly in the few decades before and after independence, locates itself outside the multiple pressures of contemporary life and continues, in attenuated form, the tradition of colonialist writing.

Referring specifically to The Guide, Spivak mentions that the novel “stands out in this miniaturized world of nostalgia remote from the turbulence of post-colonial identity” (129). Thus the novel draws on a particular tradition of cultural performance in order to satisfy the needs of a “casual unmoored international audience” (130). Her attempt, then, is to offer an alternative reading that would alert the reader to issues of agency and hegemony that are suppressed in the text. In a circuitous way, Spivak makes the point that Narayan’s own location as an Indo-Anglian writer, together with other biographical circumstances, has led to the representation of the dancer Rosie in a manner that marginalizes her. Spivak focuses entirely on Rosie as the historically oppressed figure. The dancer is the subaltern, and she, according to Spivak, has no voice or agency. Traditionally, the devadasis in India had little economic power or social standing. Their dependence on wealthy patrons led to different forms of exploitation. None of these concerns, according to Spivak, are addressed in the novel. In order to elaborate this point, the essay then moves to a lengthy discussion of the origins and evolution of Bharata Natyam. The discussion of the origins of this form is a way of signaling to the reader the ideological positioning of the text, and for good measure, the film version of the novel. According to Spivak, “If the subaltern - and the contemporary devadasi is an example- is listened to as agent and not simply as victim, we might not be obliged to rehearse decolonization interminably from above, as agendas for new schools of post-colonial criticism. But the subaltern is not heard. And one of the most interesting philosophical questions about decolonizing remains: who decolonizes, and how? (138).

It is not easy to disagree with Spivak. Her account of the tradition of temple dancing is, for the most part, accurate. Equally true are her comments about the oppression of temple dancers. That the novel does not choose to foreground the life of the dancer Rosie is also evident, although she is not entirely devoid of agency in the novel. There is obviously a need to read the novel with the kind of sensitivity that recognizes the structures of a system that marginalize those who are powerless. Beyond this point, Spivak’s argument becomes problematic. We may, if we choose to, come to an understanding of the functioning of society through our reading of literary texts. But to extract the figure of the dancer from the text and use that as a way of speaking about the subaltern and about decolonization amounts to a kind of misreading. The oppression of the subaltern is real, but when the presence of a subaltern figure becomes the occasion to ignore the text, the process of recuperation becomes suspect. The richness of the novel is lost in the critical approach, and the text serves the limited purpose of providing the occasion to historicize marginalized figures. The ideological position that Spivak brings to the text runs the risk of appropriating the narrative. There is no denying that any reading practice needs to be extremely sensitive to the omissions and exclusions in the text. The danger is that in the process of critiquing a text for what it does not say, we may ignore a whole literary tradition of which it is a part. From a pedagogical perspective, ignoring the literary tradition could well lead to a form of didacticism that detracts the students from a necessary rigor that comes with learning a particular literary tradition. The fact that Spivak spends a great deal of time discussing the film version of The Guide points to the danger of ignoring the novel as artifact in order to recuperate a historically marginalized figure.

Curiously enough, this kind of framing is precisely what makes us uncomfortable with aspects of Walsh’s criticism. Walsh suggests a normative reading that is, in fact, clearly Eurocentric. Spivak advances a Marxist reading that follows a predetermined agenda. Spivak’s position is far more socially engaged, but the end result remains the same. Spivak’s notion of decolonization involves the recuperation of the subaltern. There is no reason to disagree with that. But it is a very different matter to privilege that preoccupation when dealing with a text that self-consciously points to literary and cultural traditions that need to be understood in all their complexity. I would position myself very differently from Spivak by insisting that we first need to recognize that the text exaggerates in order to signal a departure from straightforward realism. Unless one holds a very essentialised view of India, it is hardly possible to assume that Raju’s rise to financial success through Rosie or his ascent to sainthood through Velan are meant to be seen as versions of realism. They are fictive creations, in a conventionalized narrative, in very much the same way that the Indian tradition of poetry functions with certain notions of convention. Narayan appears to be working with several cultural tropes - the householder, the wife, the dancer, and the renouncer. All these are literary tropes and cultural markers. Raju’s involvement with Rosie violates several codes. The text deliberately makes her a married woman to problematize her role. By the same token, Raju, by bringing Rosie home, becomes a de facto householder, although his position remains shaky. After his elaborate scheme to make money collapses, and his role as impresario fails, he skips one step in the teleology of life and becomes a sannyasin. These codes are defined spatially and temporally: locations are central to the novel. Domestic and public spaces are configured very carefully in the text, expressing social and economic hierarchies. Rosie too belongs to long tradition of literary writing. In fact, the South Indian epic Cilappadikaram (circa 4th century AD) foregrounds the role of the temple dancer in extremely complex terms. The novel implicitly invites the reader to position Rosie along such lines of literary representation. The major difference is that while the epic demands that attention be paid to the dancer, the novel doesn’t. Narayan’s ideological stance has to be noted, but it is hardly productive to persuade the reader to pursue the omission to the point of excluding the text.

This line of argument can be taken a little further. Narayan is a South Indian novelist. What he depicts may well be hybrid and multiple, but the fact remains that his consciousness is shaped by a world view that is South Indian. He belongs to a tradition that goes back twenty centuries or more during which several forms of innovation came and went, bringing changes, resistance and subversion. Narayan is an inheritor of that tradition. It is impossible to see the novel without drawing attention to the nuances of the Bhakti tradition that formulated the intersection of religion and literature in a very complex manner. In Narayan’s novel, the landscape, the manner in which geography is invoked, the depiction of time and space, the food, the flora and fauna, the rituals and gods, the music and human relationships are to a large extent formed by a particular social and cultural tradition. Raju builds a world around him not because deception comes naturally to him or because the villagers are gullible, but because he inherits an ancient tradition of social interaction. The tradition that the text implicitly refers to might well pre-date the Bhakti period to a kind of situational literature in which the mountains and forests shaped a particular code of writing. The text cannot be seen outside that frame. It might well appear essentialist to classicize the novel, but the classical framework is a constitutive aspect of the overall design of the text. The inherent dangers of such a reading are obvious. On the one hand, the reference to a pre- colonial past might well be tantamount to a form of nativism. Several centuries of colonization and hybridity may be obscured by a maneuver that privileges a past that appears to have survived and resurfaced in a contemporary text. On the other, it is possible to argue that the essentialism that underscores such an interpretation signifies a form of appropriation. These are important concerns, but the task of interpretation necessarily involves a nuanced awareness of literary tradition. The figure of the ascetic is central to religious and literary traditions in India, and even if one regards the representation of Raju as parody, it is still necessary to see his portrayal against a long tradition.

The Guide cannot be read without an acknowledgement of its complicity with modernity. Even the most perfunctory reading of the novel would alert the reader to the colonial and neocolonial dimension of the novel. As Spivak quite rightly points out, the film version of the novel highlights the modernist elements in the novel. Hybridity and capitalism are germane to the structure of the text. But the novel is also an inheritor of a long literary tradition that refracted “the real” in specific ways. Without a full understanding of that tradition, the novel would appear to be universalist along Walsh’s lines or hegemonic in Spivak’s terms. Either way, the novel as artifice would be sacrificed.

Narayan’s art is framed by an ideological stance that is conservative and patriarchal. His worldview demonstrates a particular bias. But unless that is woven very carefully into the critical process, literary criticism would serve the process of demonstrating that Narayan is upper- caste, upper class and patriarchal. It is clearly not very productive to go looking for details that would enable us to pursue a predetermined project. The novel includes many minor characters who may be considered marginalized or oppressed. The cowherd is clearly an Other, as are the caretaker and the car driver. It is unlikely that we would help anyone by using the novel as a way of seeking out a great deal of sociological information about cowherds in India. The role of the instructor, mediator or interpreter is crucial to the project of teaching unfamiliar texts. For the most part, the instructor is the figure of authority, the expert. The paucity of critical material about culturally different texts increases the responsibility of the instructor. Our own ideological stances may well become impediments as we approach texts. What we offer as a definitive reading might well be an ideological maneuver. Hence the need for us to recognize that a culturally different text cannot be meaningful unless the range of implicit cultural assumptions that frame that text are made clear to the audience. Cultures are not static; they are certainly not monolithic. But they function on the basis of shared assumptions. The draw their value from oral and literary traditions. Communicating a sense of cultural specificity without slipping into essentialist positions is central to what we do and how we approach texts.

Narayan’s novel is about democratization, about economic changes and about upward mobility. It is clear that certain affiliations are transcended when the central character moves away from living as a shopkeeper to a kind of tour guide and impresario. It is possible to extend this reading to show a number of changes, including the alienation of the mother, dispossession, and so forth that follow the economic transformation of Raju. But the novel gets to be really interesting when the guide now becomes a fake guru. The would-be guru sitting in a temple and enjoying the attention of the villagers is not a stereotype. He recapitulates in some ways an interesting historical phenomenon. When colonization erased many of the structures that held social units together, religion asserted itself as a form of decolonization. The interplay between the discourse of Orientalism and the resurgence of religion was complex and nuanced. But the geography, the manner in which the asceticism is described, the neglect of the temple - all these suggest far more ancient traditions where certain locations appear to have determined social norms and conventions. Spivak does not fully recognize that Narayan as a South Indian novelist brings to his work a complex literary tradition. He is also a Brahmin; he tends to be conservative and his views may well be patriarchal. But the text recapitulates what often happened in South Indian history when external pressures, whether in the form of the Pallava or Telugu kings, disrupted local life: there was always a quiet but emphatic assertion of the autochthonous and the local. Teaching culturally different texts, particularly within a postcolonial framework, involves a rethinking of many assumptions that we have taken granted. We cannot teach Narayan the way we would teach, say, Patrick White. The terms we employ, the frames we use, and the criteria we adopt need to be assessed with a nuanced sense of historical and literary context. Decolonization in South Asia was not what it was in the Caribbean. The particular manifestation of Decolonization in the Northern part of India was not what it was in the South. The traditions that shape the North are different from those that shape the South. The linkages, departures and continuities of culture give rise to texts. As literary critics, we often desperately need the help of cognate disciplines, and social scientists tell us how literature shapes and is shaped by cultural and social modes. Teaching a culturally different text should not result in negating the integrity of the text or the significance of a literary history of which it is a part. In their analyses, both Walsh and Spivak occupy two ends of the spectrum, but neither one pays attention to the specificities of a relevant literary history.

The complexity of teaching culturally different texts is at least in part a result of uncertainties about constructing literary histories. Comparative models, political agendas, transnational movements, and a host of other factors have been sources of empowerment for readers and instructors. The richness of postcolonial theory is directly attributable to the multiplicity of historical and political contexts. The theory and practice of literary history has, however, not received the kind of attention it deserves. Spivak’s article offers the opportunity for postcolonialists to conceptualize and rethink the parameters of productive literary histories. As we become increasingly aware of the need to configure literary histories of Indo-Anglian writing in ways that accommodate diverse vernacular traditions, our response to individual texts will become more inclusive and relevant. Texts such as The Guide will then be judged in relation to a very different framework of cultural and social values.



I would like to thank Professors Sara Salih and Daniel Justice for organizing the workshop and for inviting me to make a presentation. The talks by Professors Linda Hutcheon and Simon Ortiz, together with the lively discussion that followed, were valuable. A version of this paper was given at the International Centre for Ethnic Studies in Colombo in December 2003. I am grateful to the organizers and the participants for their comments.


See Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks (1952) and Nandy’s The Intimate Enemy (1983).


In fact Linda Hutcheon, in her remarks at the workshop, discussed quite specifically a situation in which some students identified with a particular text so intensely that that adjustments had to be made to accommodate their subjective response.


For Kirpal Singh’s comments about his poetry, see his interview with Chelva Kanaganayakam.

Works Cited

Afzal-Khan, Fawzia. “Cultural Imperialism and the Indo-English Novel: Genre and Ideology,” in R.K. Narayan, Kamala Markandaya, and Salman Rushdie. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania University Press, 1993.

Fanon, Frantz. Black Skin, White Masks. 1952; Trans. Charles Lam Markmann. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1982.

Manhire, Bill. “Dirty Silence: Impure Sounds in New Zealand Poetry.” Dirty Silence: Aspects of Language and Literature in New Zealand. Ed. Graham McGregor and Mark Williams. Auckland: Oxford University Press, 1991: 143-58.

Mukherjee, Arun. “Ideology in the Classroom: A Case Study in the Teaching of English Literature in Canadian Universities.” Dalhousie Review 66. 1&2 (1986): 22-30.

Nandy, Ashis. The Intimate Enemy: Loss and Recovery of Self Under Colonialism. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1983.

Narayan, R.K. The Guide. New York: Viking, 1958.

Sanders, Leslie. “Responsibility and Respect in Critical Pedagogy.” University Affairs (February 2002): 24-26.

Sankaran, Chitra. The Myth Connection: the Use of Mythology in Some Novels of Raja Rao and R.K. Narayan. Ahmedabad: Allied Publishers, 1993

Singh, Kirpal. Interview with Chelva Kanaganayakam. Configurations of Exile. Toronto: TSAR, 1995: 103-104.

Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. “How to Read a ‘Culturally Different’ Text. Colonial Discourse/ Postcolonial Theory. Eds. Francis Barker, Peter Hulme, and Margaret Iversen. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1994: 126-50.

Walsh, William. R.K. Narayan. London: Longman, 1971.