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A Horse and Two Goats by R K Narayan: Summary & Analysis
Narayan we have the theme of confusion, tradition, culture, identity, arrogance and conflict. Narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator the reader realises after reading the story that Narayan may be exploring the theme of confusion. Muni is speaking in Tamil while the American is speaking in English. At no stage of the story is there a sense that either man understands the actions or wishes of the other. On the one occasion that the American begins to pet the goats Muni considers that the conversation he has had with the American is about the American buying his goats. It is also noticeable that the American does not really have an interest in the history or tradition that comes with the horse. Rather he appears to wish to purchase the horse as a trophy for his own pleasure.
First published in the Madras, India, newspaper The Hindu in , "A Horse and Two Goats" did not achieve a wide international audience until when it became the title story of R. It reached an even wider audience in when it was included in Under the Banyan Tree, Narayan's tenth and best-selling collection. By this time Narayan was well established as one of the most prominent Indian authors writing in English in the twentieth century. The story presents a comic dialogue between Muni, a poor Tamil-speaking villager, and a wealthy English-speaking businessman from New York. They are engaged in a conversation in which neither can understand the other's language. With gentle humor, Narayan explores the conflicts between rich and poor, and between Indian and Western culture.
A Horse and Two Goats. (). R. K. Narayan. Of the seven hundred thousand villages dotting the map of India, in which the majority of India's five hundred.
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Narayan is set in a fictional small Tamil village named Kritam where the protagonist of the story, Muni, lives. The village consists of less than thirty houses, mostly made of bamboo thatch, straw and mud. Only one house called the Big House, the house of the village chief, is made of brick and cement. Once upon a time, Muni owned a herd of forty sheep and goats. But it is now reduced to just two goats. On the day of the story, Muni takes his usual breakfast of a handful of millet flour and then shakes down drum sticks from the tree in front of his house. When Muni expresses his wish for a drumstick sauce, his wife asks him to bring groceries like dal, spices, oil and potato.