A Comparative Study of Arthur Dimmesdale in The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne and Raju in The Guide by R.K. Narayan

Fawzia Fathema


Enlightenment is something which is very internal. Here, the novels, The Scarlet Letter and The Guide introduces a new approach in justifying religiosity among the widely accepted (!) preachers. Two saintly characters are having a moderate demonstration through this writing in order to unfold their insights under the observation of their so called dedicated activities. So the readers might be convinced by the crucial fact that, how far they are enlightened; or, whether they are being merely privileged to be addressed   by the  illusioned  common mass  or by the co-incidences at large.]

Arthur, the distinguished character comes out of Nathaniel Hawthorne in his famous novel the Scarlet Letter while Raju the figurative personnel of The Guide by R.K. Narayan-though the characters amazingly convey striking phenomena belonging to two centuries apart. Both the writers happened to be extremely popular with the vast reading public of the similar and different backgrounds.

Both the writers use psychoanalysis, soliloquies, asides, to convey true insight of the characters thereby supplying the readers the resemblences and incompatibilities of their individualities. Here we would  intend to justify and diagnose their extent of moral disillusionment, enlightened realization.

Raju,in the Handitouch of R.K. Narayan is found to be shifted ultimately into a guide and prodigy( a guru) according to some critic  he is  an anti hero  rather than a hero. Certainly, the very portrayal of Raju almost provided a modern essence to the novel, the Guide. Since it breaks with the traditional structure of a novel- the hero lacks in heroic characteristics; Rosie is always devoid of being called a heroine; even the plot development is not pursuing a single theme or any particular climax. Unlike the traditional ones it starts with an abrupt opening of a modern drama containing the features of flash back and flash forward as well.

In the Scarlet Letter admittedly this kind of feature is hardly noticed. Primarily he seems to be gifted with scholarly attainments, whereas he wore a half-frightened look all about him. Arthur’s failing health was considered to be on account of excessive study and scrupulous fulfillment of his priestly duties; and on top of that, his frequent fasting and vigils.

However, we are face to face with Raju when he was chatting with a barber. In the course of the conversation between the two , readers were convinced through the affirmation of the barber that Raju did not commit murder  nor did he cheat , abduct or rape , while ironically he was accused of all these crimes.

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