The River



Radial Diagram








The river flowed on against the night

This quotation is significant because it shows how the river continues against the night, it doesn’t stop for anything or anyone, and it also represents how Krishna must go on and not let anything hold him back from self-development. The river forges it’s own path which Krishna must also do himself.



I felt I was really in a new world


The bliss that the river experience creates for Krishna, is exemplified with this quotation.  The fact that as an adult Krishna has found something “new” and exciting is significant because it likens him to children who are excited by discovering new things.



The eastern skyline was reddening

The image of a reddening skyline represents a new day, a new beginning as the sun rises again. Moreover, the imagery sets a calming, renewing scene.



All of which created an alchemy of inexplicable joy


The connotations of the words express such a great amount of pleasure that Krishna has encountered. By using somewhat complex words, Narayan portrays Krishna as an aspiring poet, or a very wordy person.



Fording the river, bathing, washing


The river in this novel is a crucial part in the everyday lives of the people of Malgudi and it is ironic how such a “common” thing, a river, is what holds an important lesson for Krishna




Role in the Novel:

The river represents change and new beginnings because Krishna goes to the river and bathes when he is trying to break out of his old routine and the river is a symbol of change as it constantly flows therefore it is constantly changing as the water never stays in one place, it will be replaced. The river also represents cleansing and purity as, most obviously,  it is a place where the people in Malgudi go to cleanse themselves and, more symbolically Krishna goes to the river with the Headmaster and later on reflects on his life which is a way of cleansing himself. The river also represents moving on as a river keeps flowing, it can never dwell in one place, it has no choice but to keep moving. This can be linked to Krishna who must keep living despite the tragic loss of his wife. Finally the river suggests the idea of forging one’s own path  through life as it, in a way, chooses it’s own path, which represents Krishna who must also do this in his own life. Although the Medium, the Headmaster, Susila and Leela are teachers to Krishna, he must take what he learns and make himself his own person, instead of striving to be exactly like his teachers in life.