Fictional Dichotomy in the Titles of Raja Rao’s Novels
The Western myths in Raja Rao, on the other hand, serve as parallels, getting an Indian colour. In Raja Rao’s fiction, myths are indispensable as they allow room for a wider perspective in the traditional storytelling technique of story- within- story â€“ device. As an experimentalist of the highest order, Rao chose to tell stories against prominent socio-political events in history. His selection of themes bear testimony to this and speaks large about the relevance of the themes he handled â€“ the event of the national freedom struggle (Kanthapura), discourses on world religions and ideologies (The Serpent and the Rope), willing submission to the god-head (The Cat and Shakespeare), Vedantism and its relevance in modern India (Comrade Kirillov) and multi-layered philosophical debates on man’s yearning to get identified with the Self (The Chessmaster and His Moves). Raja Rao’s sadhana into fiction can be understood if one examines the relevance of the titles of his three most representative novels, especially Kanthapura, The Serpent and the Rope, and The Cat and Shakespeare. To explicate the theme of the East-West encounter in The Serpent and the Rope, Rao brings in a large number of references to both Indian and western characters, religious and philosophical systems. Dichotomic traits project Kirillov as being greatly obsessed with communist perspectives, expressing his strong dislike of Gandhism; relating it to a remote past. He supports Hitler and Stalin as epitomic symbols of greater prominence. And as he gets accepted into western political circles, he is accepted not as Comrade Kirillov but as Mr Padmanabhan Kirillov.
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