Analysis of R.K Narayan's Father’s Help: Puzzling yet Most Realistic Whining Schoolboy

 “... I am often asked, "Where is Malgudi?"All I can say is that it is imaginary and not to be found on any map (although the University of Chicago Press has published a literary atlas with a map of India indicating the location of Malgudi). If I explain that Malgudi is a small town in South India I shall only be expressing half-truth, for the characteristics of Malgudi seem to me universal...” - R.K. Narayan

Swami is the main character of R. K. Narayan’s Father’s Help. He is one of Narayan’s most puzzling yet most realistic characters, a boy made up of the contradictions of good and bad, simple and complex, obedient and disobedient those are typical of the human condition. This makes his adventure in Father’s Help a passionate account of a person’s climb out of fear into enlightenment, out of protestant into conformist.

Read More Short Stories At first, he seems to be a victim, someone in need of aid against a gang of bullies from teachers and a school administration that encourages the beating of children. Yet, when he is in Albert Mission School, his thoughts are focused on escaping the scene, which is afraid of Samuel.

Father’s Help by the famous Indian English writer R. K Narayan unravels the inner psyche of school going child which Narayan never fails to capture the inner turmoil as well as the joys and aspiration of any character. Read More Short Stories Such is here through the fabrication of false stories regarding his teacher and his subsequent attempts to justify his ends by Swaminathan the protagonist of the story constitute the story. This short story highlights the need of understanding between parents and children and the significance of ideal teacher pupil relationship.  Father's Help   highlights how the perspectives of a young boy and those of the adults around him differ. Like any other child of his age, the protagonist Swami, doesn't like to go to school. He makes flimsy excuses to stay away from school but miserably fails in his attempts.

The beginning of the story we find swami the protagonist in Swami and Friends , the feel of continuity of a novel – a sense of knowing the background, the staple on which Narayan creates the tales of Malgudi, plays truant and lies to his mother that he has headache. Swami like any other kid does not like school and wishes that the school is reduced to dust by an earthquake. As he showed reluctance to go to school his mother asked him if he had any important lessons that day. In reply swami opined that the geography teacher had been teaching the same lesson for over a year now and arithmetic period meant for the whole period the students were going to be punished. His generous mother permitted him to stay at home.

 It’s Monday morning and Swami lies to his mother to get a day off, luckily he gets it. Through he could fool his mother but the entry of his stubborn father his fate took another turn. When he realized that he couldn’t adjust the situation with his headache, he changed his fact. He told his father that he would be punished by his teacher if he went late to school. To substantiate his argument, he gave a lurid account of falsehood regarding his teacher Samuel that he would beat children until he saw blood and made then smear it on their forehead like a vermilion marking. 

Hearing all this, his adamant father forced swami to school with a letter addressed the head master or his way to school. From then on we see the active imagination of a boy who conjures stories after stories against his teacher Samuel, the atrocities on students so that he is not sending to school. But all of it goes against him and now he is on his way to Albert Mission School with a letter from his father which he has to deliver to his headmaster and get an acknowledgment from him. Read More Short Stories Swami felt that he was the worst perjures on earth a part from the hearsays there was no knowledge of Samuel cruelties within his mind. To justify what has been written in the letter he wanted Samuel to do something. So that he decided to deliver the letter at the end of the day.

When Swami reached his classroom Samuel was teaching arithmetic. Beyond all his expectations Samuel permitted him to enter the class. Read More Short Stories Thereafter Swami was deliberately provoking Samuel whereas all his efforts were of mouse. The arithmetic period come to an end. In the last period of the day When Samuel came to teach Indian history Swami played all his tricks and his skills to the fullest possible extant to enrage Samuel. Without being able to tolerate Swami unwanted questions and yells, Samuel caned him. Being jubilant he rushed to the head master’s room, but found the room locked, when curiously asked about the head master the peon Informed his that the head muster would be on leave for a week, asked him to hand over the letter to the assistant head master, who was Samuel hearing this he fled from the place. As soon as he reached home hearing Swami Excuses, father reproached him calling a coward. Father tore the letter in to pieces commenting you deserve your Samuel.

 It is hard to tell whether Swami is a brave or clownish character. Read More Short Stories The answer, revealed through his adventures, is that he is both. Like many people, he has aspects of personality that are best kept to himself, but, like most people, he has strengths that, when encouraged, make him admirable. This is part of his characterization’s significance in Swami and Friends: people have within them the capacity to do great deeds in the service of good. It is Narayan’s view that good people must fight evil, even in small ways, so the driving away of the bullies at Malgudi at the end of Father’s Help is important, just as making friendship is important.