Rosie Character Analysis in The Novel The Guide

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      Rosie is the heroine of the novel. She is present in more than half of the novel. She has a Master’s degree in Economics. She marries Marco for social reasons. She has been attracted by the excitement of a new life with a wealthy intellectual, when she sees the matrimonial advertisement of Marco. But she remains essentially an artist and this quality Raju has exploited to his own personal advancement. She has decided to make amends for her sin of adultery by sacrificing her art. She finally retires to Madras in order to rededicate herself to the practice and propagation of the Art of Bharata Natyam. Raju’s imprisonment and Rosie’s redemption are simultaneous. But after the end of the term Raju becomes a fugitive from the civilized world. She is no longer glamorous and remains dusky rather than bright, being seen through the film of a tender coconut juice.

      Rosie (alias Nalini) is the daughter of a Devadasi, Dancing is in her blood and spirits. She marries Marco not out of love but out of reverence for his social and intellectual status.

      She has been described by the novelist in the following manner — “She was not very glamorous, if that is what you expect, but she did have a figure, a slight and slender one, beautifully fashioned, eyes that sparkled, a complexion, not white, but dusky, which made her only half visible as if you saw her through a film of tender coconut juice.

      She was fond of dancing. She loved dancing more than her husband, more than Raju and more than any other thing in her life. It is her madness for dancing that is partly responsible for her predicament. Later on she attains perfection and popularity as a dancer, and gives her performances on the stage. Due to her devotion and hard work she attains a greater recognition as a dancer than her husband gets as a scholar.

      She is a snake-woman, partly because Raju calls her ‘a snake woman’ during his last phase of life, and partly because she is fond of cobras. She has been introduced in the following manner: “There was a girl who had come all the way from Madras and who asked the moment she set foot in Malgudi, ‘Can you show me a cobra — a king kobra it must be, which can dance to the music of a flute?’ And when she is shown the cobra, she begins to dance with it in perfect rhythm.

      Rosie is a maze and mystery. She is a vision like a fairy. She is above the reach both of Marco and Raju. Raju himself realizes that “neither Marco nor I had any place in her life, which had its own sustaining vitality which she herself had underestimated all along.” Rosie’s own summing up is masterly: “I felt all along you were not doing right things. This is karma. What can we do?” Thus Rosie is a woman of independent mind and thinking. She cannot be easily cowed down, nor can she be misled. She is intelligent too. When Raju does not show her husband’s book, she is able to know about it from a review.

      She is a regular enigma. The duplicity of her heart is perceived even by her lover. Sometimes she surrenders her body to Raju so that he can make love to her, but the other moment she would remember her husband and would like to kick Raju away. At times she appears to be mature woman but at others she behaves like a child. She is more of a dreamer than real and as such is fascinated by her art instincts. She gets severed from her husband and yet she cherishes the hope to convert him.

      As a married woman she tries to adjust her as much according to her husband’s wishes as possible. But it is due her husband’s coldness and continued rebuff and insult that she decides to go to other man. She is a woman of simple emotion and of a domestic kind. She is an agitated soul, and suffers from an inferiority complex because of her low birth. Marco rebuffs her: “But you are not my wife. You are a woman who will go to bed with anyone that flatters your antics.” This is only partly true. She does not lie with every man; she lies, of course, with Raju, but Raju has his own charms and a magician-like personality to win away any woman placed in the circumstances like those of Rosie. Even then she repents her mistakes. At last she decides to live all alone, abandoning Raju also. Rosie is a woman who has certain psychic problems. She lacks adjustment, and thus is a victim of maladjustment. She turns to her lover for fulfilment, but she suffers from a spiritual vacuum. She is somewhat pugnacious. She is seldom normal because of the rough treatment she gets from her husband.

      As a matter of fact, she is responsible for all the troubles of Raju. He tells Velan: “My troubles would not have started but for Rosie. Why did she call herself Rosie? She did not come from a foreign land. She was just an Indian, who should have done well with Devi, Meena, Lalitha, or any one of the thousand names we have in our country. She chose to call herself Rosie. Don’t imagine on hearing her name that she wore a short skirt or cropped her hair. She looked just the orthodox dancer that she was. She wore sarees of bright hues and gold lace, had curly hair which she braided and beflowered, wore diamond earrings and a heavy necklace. I told her at the first opportunity what a great dancer she was, and how she fostered our cultural traditions, and it pleased her.”

      She is Indian in appearance, in thinking and in spirit. Yet she commits adultery; she is an adulteress circumstantially. Otherwise she is as pure as Tess of Hardy. She is swayed by passion. To her, body is insignificant; she is more interested in soul. Her exterior is deceptive, she lives in her aspiration and desire. She may give her body to anyone without caring for it. She gives it to Raju because her soul has been injured by her husband. She is a bit indifferent to society, and that is why she commits acts of social immorality. She was, as mentioned by Raju, “like those pillar-carvings in the temples.” Hers is an action packed personality, and she possesses boldness. She wants to lead a life of excitement and zeal and warmth. That is why her marriage is a failure. But she is split personality. Bodily she remains wedded to Raju whereas spiritually she remains married to Marco. She is torn and swayed by two desires: one for Marco, the other for Raju. At last the balance falls in favour of Marco. Like Shaw’s Candida she gives up her romantic lover and tries to return to her husband. But whereas Candida returns to her husband safely, she is not able to get her husband back, for she should reap the fruit of seeds sown by her.

      The novelist has drawn her successfully with a sense of fine delicacy. Her intricate personality has been delineated with candour. He is not interested in her emotional and psychic side. She is a woman made of tragic elements. Materialism is none of her concern. She is a frustrated artist. She dangles somewhere in the space, between the earth and the sky, unable to get a foothold on the earth and unable to reach the skies. In spite of her quarrels with her husband she has her loyalties intact. Her body gets intruded upon by the love of another person, yet in her heart of hearts she remains concerned with Marco. She is enigma not much concerned with her soul. She is a pathetic creature because she is great and deserves our sympathy despite her maladjustment and adultery. Society is a greater snake then she. She has the ability and capacity to rise to the occasion. She has beauty and a sex appeal which starts possess. She has rhythm but not perfect harmony in her life. She is like a rainbow.

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