Saturday, 13 October 2012

A Horse and Two Goats by R.K.Narayan Analysis

Question: "What do the actions and their words say about their different cultures?"

The most important and apparent theme in this short story is cultural differences and the character's inability to communicate properly shows us that the actions of each character are a direct portrayal of their respective cultures.

Both the american and the old Indian man, Muni, are ethnocentric in their approach to the other, since they have very little knowledge of the foreigner's culture they thus evaluate this person on their own cultures and standards. The language barrier and confusion that arises from the inability to communicate causes the old man to assume the American values history and religion while the American assumes the old man is concerned with monetary values.

The American is fiscally orientated and when he sees the village's statue he immediately wants to buy it for himself, sensing a deal where he could get a bargain. In his trivial attempt to communicate that he wants to buy this statue, the old man thinks he is inquiring about the history of the statue instead. The old man assumes this since that is what most people he has met in his life would ask, that is what their culture dictates. Muni therefore assumes that this is what he wants and when the money is waved around, he then thinks he wants to buy his goats, since the question of anyone wanting to buy a religiously and historically important statue is utterly preposterous.

The ethnocentrism of the story portrays the cultures of the characters effectively and their inability to understand each other allows the reader to see what each character's culture represents by their assumption of the other's motives.


  1. not bad but how did narayan create humor in the story i need answers now

  2. Narayan created humor in the story by the juxtaposition and the contrast between the two characters and the culture they represent. In short, both characters went prattling along, assuming what was said with little communication and this creates humor. There is added humor in which Muni is known to be unlucky and the arrival of his 'sold' goats back at his home is pretty funny.