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Quiz about The Novels and Stories of RK Narayan
Quiz about The Novels and Stories of RK Narayan

The Novels and Stories of R.K. Narayan Quiz


R.K. Narayan was a south Indian writer who wrote novels and short stories in the English language from 1935 until 1993, a writer of beloved stories of Indian life. Take this introductory quiz and you may be tempted to read his books.

A multiple-choice quiz by alliefarrell. Estimated time: 5 mins.
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Author
alliefarrell
Time
5 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
249,053
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Tough
Avg Score
5 / 10
Plays
1807
Last 3 plays: Guest 110 (0/10), Guest 182 (7/10), Guest 157 (7/10).
- -
Question 1 of 10
1. Upon what autobiographical event is Narayan's 'The English Teacher' based? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. What is the name of Narayan's first novel? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. 'The Dark Room' (1938), was the first of Narayan's novels that I read, and remains my favourite. What is the story about? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. Which of the following books by R.K. Narayan is NOT a collection of short stories? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. Which of Narayan's books was the top-seller of Narayan's novels, has garnered the most critical praise, was made into an American film with the collaboration of Pearl S. Buck, and into a Hindi film that won seven 'Filmfare' awards [the Indian equivalent of the Academy Award]? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. Which book features the character Daisy, who is on a fanatical mission to control India's population? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. In 'Waiting for the Mahatma', what happens at the end of the book? Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. In 'The Man-Eater of Malgudi', what kind of creature is the man-eater? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. The fictional town of Malgudi is the setting for most of Narayan's novels. However, Malgudi is intended to be a fictionalization of Narayan's lifelong home, which was: Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. What are the main themes of Narayan's fiction? Hint



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quiz
Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Upon what autobiographical event is Narayan's 'The English Teacher' based?

Answer: the death of Narayan's wife

R.K. Narayan (1906-2001) married Rajam Nageswara in 1933 when Narayan was 27 and Rajam was 15. It was not unusual for an older Indian man to marry a much-younger woman. Rajam died of typhoid only six years later, in 1939, and a grieving Narayan left the literary scene until the publication of 'The English Teacher' in 1945.
'The English Teacher' is the tale of a teacher whose young wife dies of typhoid as Narayan's wife had, and who has similar difficulty coping with his grief. The fictional widower is left with a young daughter to raise, as was Narayan; their daughter Hemavath, called "Hema", was only three years old when her mother died.
Narayan did attend Maharajah's College and the University of Mysore, but he was never a teacher; in his professional life he worked as a journalist.
2. What is the name of Narayan's first novel?

Answer: Swami and Friends

'Swami and Friends' was R.K. Narayan's first novel, and was published in 1935. He was paid 15 10d for the book. It was followed by 'The Bachelor of Arts' in 1937, and 'The Dark Room' in 1938.
'The Far Pavilions' is a British novel written by author M.M. Kaye (1908-2004); this epic story of British and Indian history and romance is over 1,000 pages long and a favourite of mine.
Narayan had difficulty getting his first novel, 'Swami and Friends', published, unil a friend sent it to English novelist Graham Greene, who admired it greatly, and got it published for him. Greene also was responsible for the publication of his next two novels. After that, Narayan's fame was enough to ensure his publication without assistance.
3. 'The Dark Room' (1938), was the first of Narayan's novels that I read, and remains my favourite. What is the story about?

Answer: a woman sitting in a darkened room because her husband is having an affair

Savitri's tyrannical and pompous husband, Ramani, is having an affair with a younger woman at his office. Savitri begins her protest by sleeping on the floor in a small, dark alcove in their home and refusing to eat, but when Ramani's affair does not cease, Savitri's actions go further.
'The Dark Room' is Narayan's only book written from a feminine, even feministic perspective, and, I think, shows the profound effect that marriage was having on Narayan. Narayan never remarried after the death of Rajam, nor did he ever again have a female protagonist in one of his novels or stories.
4. Which of the following books by R.K. Narayan is NOT a collection of short stories?

Answer: The World of Nagaraj

'Lawley Road' (1956), 'Malgudi Days' (1982), and 'The Grandmother's Tale' (1993), are all short-story publications by Narayan. 'The World of Nagaraj' (1990) is the last novel that Narayan wrote. Narayan also wrote three other short-story collections in addition to the ones I have listed.
'The Grandmother's Tale', published in 1993, is the last book that Narayan ever wrote. In 1994, his beloved daughter Hema died of cancer at the age of 58, and Narayan wrote no more. He died seven years later.
5. Which of Narayan's books was the top-seller of Narayan's novels, has garnered the most critical praise, was made into an American film with the collaboration of Pearl S. Buck, and into a Hindi film that won seven 'Filmfare' awards [the Indian equivalent of the Academy Award]?

Answer: The Guide

'The Guide', subtitled 'The Tale of a Reluctant Holy Man', published in 1958, and made into a movie in 1965, is a brilliant novel about Raju, a railway-station food vendor and tourist guide thrown into jail as a swindler. When he is released, he searches for his true identity, and finds it as the mahatma (spiritual adviser) of a small town.

This book has a stunning conclusion. I have had no luck tracking down the film!
6. Which book features the character Daisy, who is on a fanatical mission to control India's population?

Answer: The Painter of Signs

In Narayan's 1976 novel, 'The Painter of Signs', Daisy believes that India's illiterate villagers have stupid and superstitious prejudices against contraception, and is determined to change that. She hires Raman to paint signs to reinforce family planning, the irony being that the illiterate villagers cannot read them.
7. In 'Waiting for the Mahatma', what happens at the end of the book?

Answer: Mahatma Gandhi is assassinated

Sriram, the main character of Narayan's 1955 book, has only joined Mahatma Gandhi's faithful because he has fallen in love with Bharati, one of Gandhi's most beloved disciples. Sriram is persistent, works hard for the Mahatma's cause to win her attention, and endures long separations from Bharati, who does not even return his feelings.

At the end of the book, Bharati finally agrees to marry Sriram; their engagement is joyfully blessed by Gandhi, who only moments later is shot and killed.
8. In 'The Man-Eater of Malgudi', what kind of creature is the man-eater?

Answer: a taxidermist

Vasu, the taxidermist, and one of the most annoying people I have ever encountered in fiction, moves into the upstairs room of the printing press bringing with him stuffed creatures of every description - very offensive in a society that reveres life and is vegetarian.

He also brings with him an endless supply of dancing girls. The ways in which Nataraj, the owner of the printing press, and other outraged townspeople eventually deal with Vasu, make for delightful reading.
9. The fictional town of Malgudi is the setting for most of Narayan's novels. However, Malgudi is intended to be a fictionalization of Narayan's lifelong home, which was:

Answer: Chennai [formerly Madras], on India's south-east coast

When I first read that R.K. Narayan had been born in Madras and died in Chennai, I thought that they were two separate places - until I checked my atlas! Narayan spent all his 95 years living in Chennai/Madras, which is on the south-eastern Indian coast of the Bay of Bengal. He loved his hometown so much that he miniaturized it and recreated it in his novels as Malgudi.
10. What are the main themes of Narayan's fiction?

Answer: all of these

All of these themes are gently but expertly explored in Narayan's novels and short stories.
This might be a good time to tell you that R.K. Narayan's real name was Rasipuram Krishnaswami Ayyar Narayanswami. It was Graham Greene who suggested that he change his name for English publication. Greene said of Narayan that he was "the novelist I admire most in the English language".

Sources:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R.K._Narayan
Narayan's obituaries in www.nytimes.com, news.bbc.co.uk
www.califreview.com/Essays/naryan_5005.htm
Source: Author alliefarrell

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor agony before going online.
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