Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 10 : 2 February 2010
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         K. Karunakaran, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.



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R. K. Narayan's Humour in
Swami and Friends

S. Gunasekaran, Ph.D. Candidate

Narayan and Humour

Humour and laughter are the greatest virtues that God has bestowed on man.

A sense of humour makes one see one's proper place in this world, and teaches him to see things in proportion. Both humour and laughter are universal, though there are national differences on certain aspects. They have their place in all arts and their enjoyment leads to aesthetic experience of a unique kind.

The humour of situation and character represent the higher forms of humour. R.K.Narayan has written stories in which humour arises out of situation or character or stories in which situation and character combine to produce the humorous effect. Narayan has excelled in producing humour of situation as well as of character. He has taken his raw material from the people and events around him.

On Defining and Describing Humour

Humour in a situation depends neither on verbal means nor on characters, but purely on the situation that turns out to be funny due to a juxtaposition of incongruities.

Henry Bergson applies the techniques of repetition, inversion and reciprocal interference of series. By repetition he means a combination of circumstances, which recur several times, contrasting with the changing stream of life. Inversion means "topsy-turvy- dom", where the situation is reversed and the roles inverted. A child trying to teach its parents, a character who lays a trap in which he is the first to be caught, the villain who is the victim of his own villainy-in every case the root is the inversion of roles and a situation which recoils.

With regard to reciprocal interference of series, Bergson observes that "a situation is invariably comic when it belongs simultaneously to two altogether independent series of events and is capable of being interpreted in two entirely different meanings at the same time" (123). An equivocal situation, which provides two different meanings, one plausible and the other real, is a good example. Misunderstanding and mistaken identity also cause the humour of situation. The present article focuses on how R.K.Narayan produces humour effectively through situation and character in the novel Swami and Friends.

Realism of Children's World in Swami and Friends

Swami and Friends (1935), Narayan's first novel, is remarkable for his understanding of child psychology and for his depiction of the buoyant world of school boys in a realistic and convincing manner. About this book Graham Greene wrote:

It was Mr.Narayan with his Swami and Friends who first brought India, in the sense of the Indian population and the Indian way of life, alive to me… Swami is the story of a child written with complete objectivity, with a humour strange to our fiction, closer to Chekhov than to any English writer, with the same underlying sense of beauty and sadness (28).

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

Compounds in Tolkappiyam and Balavyakaranam - A Comparison | Automatic Nominal Morphological Recognizer and Analyzer for Sanskrit: Method and Implementation | A Critical Study of The Wasteland - Poetry as Metaphor | Communicative Language Teaching - An Overview | Cinema and the New Media | Culture and Second Language Learning and Teaching - An Exploration in Tamil | R. K. Narayan's Humour in Swami and Friends | Towards Meeting Global Challenge - Cyber Based Instruction in Foreign Language Teaching | Novel Technologies, Engines and Mobiles in Language Learning | Role of Language in Effective Managerial Communication | Pragmatic Analysis of Politeness Theory | The Varied Horizon of Multimedia & Web Tools for English Language Acquisition in the Information Age | Challenges and Problems in the Teaching of Grammar | Some Features of Tirukkural Telugu Translations | Issues of Social and Ideological Empowerment in Contemporary Indian Women Writing in English | Does Stress-Shift Lead to Word-Class Conversion in English? | Insight through Body Language and Non-verbal Communication References in Tirukkural | Think-Aloud Protocol -- Elicitation of Strategy Use and Solution to Learning Problem | Voice of the Voiceless: Eugene O'Neill's The Hairy Ape and George Ryga's Indian - A Comparative Study | Inside the Haveli: A Study | HOME PAGE of February 2010 Issue | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR

S. Gunasekaran, Ph.D. Candidate
Department of English
Anna University Tiruchirappalli
Dindigul Campus
Dindigul-624 622
Tamilnadu, India
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