The Middle Class of Malgudi
This paper discusses the depiction of ‘middle-class values’ by the celebrated Indian writer R.K. Narayan. Malgudi, a fictional South Indian town, is a prototypical representation of typical Indian society and the literary works of Narayan vividly mirror the everyday happenings. Content analysis of selected short stories, namely, ‘Forty-Five a Month,’ “Iswaran” and “Sweets for Angels,”; reveal the peculiarity of the Indian middle class and the author’s apt derision of certain lifestyle practices associated with modernity. Set in the backdrop of the 1930s, the stories capture the labyrinth of social issues and problems that plague South Asian societies. For instance, educational achievement is considered to be of utmost importance for preserving one’s status and the achievement of social mobility by the middle class. Ironically, educational success is often unsuccessful in buying freedom from alienating and oppressive livelihood practices engaging the middle class. There is also an accompanying erosion of ‘social capital’ and the expanding “radius of distrust.”
Copyright (c) 2021 Anirban Mukherjee
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