Insights into Indian English Fiction and Drama
Edited by Capt. Dr. Arvind M. Nawale Access -An Academic Consortium Publication ISBN No. 978-81-921254-3-5
Aspects of Campus Novel in Makarand Paranjape’s The Narrator: A Novel Shridevi P.G. The Narrator: A Novel is the well-known critic Makarand Paranjape’s debut novel, published in 1995. It is a mishmash of several stories woven together and presented to us from view-points of several writer-narrators or character- narrators. This novel has attracted considerable interest in the academicians because of the unique narratology of the novel which is different from the rest of the Indian novels written in English. The novel is experimental, and breaks away from the conventional methods of story-telling used in Indian English Fiction. Throughout the narrative, the readers notice that there is little attempt to create an illusion of realism or naturalism.1 With the use of multivoiced and polyphonic narration, as in the great epics Ramayana and Mahabharata, the writer tries to relocate himself with the ancient Indian tradition of the narratology.2 The story of the novel can be divided into three main threads: The first is the story of Rahul Patwardhan, lecturer in English at Asafia University, Hyderabad who is suffering from creative schizophrenia since his childhood and, in the process has a libidinal alter ego, Baddy. The second is the story of Badrinath Dhanda, who comes out of Rahul through emanation. The final thread is that of the movie script, Manpasand. Campus novel is a kind of novel which originated in the West but is emerging as a very prominent sub-genre in Indian English Fiction. As David Lodge, a well-known practitioner of this sub-genre opines, Campus Novel is mainly concerned with the lives of University professors and junior teachers.3 The present paper attempts to explore the aspects of campus novel in this novel. The novel centers around Rahul Patwardhan who is a lecturer in English at the Asafia University, Hyderabad. His reputation as a lecturer is displayed when he meets his Head of the Department in the novel. The Head of the Department does not doubt him when he lies; asking for leave for four days on the pretext of illness and reading accepts it. This is because, this type
of aberration was a recent development in Rahul’s character, and is therefore unknown to the Head of Department. The author presents the characteristics of a good lecturer through Rahul Patwardhan’s character. He is responsible about his duties as a lecturer: ….tomorrow was Monday. I had to teach. It was the beginning of a new week. I couldn’t afford to have a very late night today. But meeting him tomorrow would screw up Tuesday’s schedule. [TNAN 67]
His anxiety to complete the syllabus is also depicted in the novel. He abstains from listening to the gory details of incest when Badrinath is narrating his story. When Badri goes on describing how the ugly women are better partners then the beautiful ones, Rahul is unable to contribute his view as he is a loyal husband to Neha and thus had slept only with her. It is the curiosity generated in him by his literary sensibility or on humanitarian inclination that he expresses his wish of meeting prostitutes. He thinks, What were these women like? What did they feel? What was the meaning of their lives………I was interested in getting to see them at close quarters. I told myself I didn’t want the sex, but only the experience of meeting a prostitute, of talking to her, getting to know her.[ TNAN 168]
Rahul immediately revolts at Badri’s mention of co-habition with college girls. “For heaven’s sake, Badri, I teach them myself”. “You never know”, he continued, “you may even meet one of your students!” “Please, Badri, stop it”. [TNAN 168]
This conversation indicates Rahul’s strong professional ethics. He has also followed certain principles in life which are unfortunately jettisoned after his acquaintance with Badri. He leaves a lot...
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