“A Horse and Two Goats” is a short story by R.K Narayan with a distinct plot that covers themes such as clash of cultures, barriers in communication and colonialism. Throughout the story, Narayan uses language to illustrate the disparaged state of Muni and the horse statue.
Muni is described as being struck by poverty from the beginning of the story, even stating himself that ‘I am the poorest fellow in our caste’, and that ‘everyone else in the village had more money than him’ as they were ‘professed to be high up’. He understands that on the scale of social ranking he is especially close to the bottom, one of these reasons being that ‘fertility brings (brought) merit’, yet him and his wife had no ‘progeny’. Muni perceives that having numerous children brings wealth and happiness, and is ashamed by having none, the author portraying this by describing how ‘everyone in the village whispered behind their backs that Muni and his wife were a barren couple’. Walking through the streets, Muni would pass everyone with his ‘eyes downcast’ in order not to meet anyone’s eyes, slightly penitent about his diminished state. He would lift his head ‘only on the outskirts’ when he was alone, and would ‘urge and bully the goats’ who appeared to be Muni’s only company. The author depicts Muni’s reclusive side by showing how being away from the mocking voices of the people in the village ‘gave him a sense of belonging’, as Muni knew no one would judge him if he was on his own.
Although Muni’s belittled state is clearly shown by R.K Narayan, his is not the only one, for the author also describes the diminished state of a horse statue on which Muni sits every day in the outskirts of the village. The statue used to be majestic and splendid before, having been ‘white as a dhobi-washed sheet’ with its ‘head reared proudly’ and his ‘forelegs prancing in the air’. However, now the horse has lost its elaborate and impressive state, with beads which used to ‘sparkle like gems’ now...
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