The Bachelor of Arts
|Author||R. K. Narayan|
|ISBN||0-09-928224-0 (2000 ed.)|
|LC Class||PR9499.3.N3 B3 1980|
|Preceded by||Swami and Friends|
|Followed by||The English Teacher|
The Bachelor of Arts (1937) is a novel written by R. K. Narayan. It is the second book of a trilogy that begins with Swami and Friends and ends with The English Teacher. It is again set in Malgudi, the fictional town Narayan invented for his novels.
The story describes the complex transition of an adolescent mind into adulthood and the heartbreak which a youth faces. It revolves around a young man named Chandran, who resembles an Indian upper middle class youth of the pre-independence era. First, Chandran's college life in late colonial times is described. After graduation, he falls in love with a girl, but is rejected by the bride's parents, since his horoscope describes him as a manglik, a condition in which a manglik can only marry another manglik and if not, the non-manglik will die. Malathi, the girl with whom Chandran falls in love after graduating from college, is then married to someone else.
Chandran is absolutely heartbroken to the extent that he goes to Madras and starts living on streets. Famished, delusioned and full of self-pity, he ends up wandering from one place to another. Also frustrated and desperate, he then embarks on a journey as Sanyasi. On his journey he meets many people and he is also misunderstood as a great sage by some villagers. After 8 months, he thinks of what mess he has become and thinks about his parents. Due to the compunctions and the realizations, he decides to return home. He takes up a job as a newsagent and decides to marry, in order to please his parents, thinking of the discomfort he had caused them earlier.
Even after returning home, he is still unable to get Malathi out of his head completely and though he tries hard, the pictures and memories of her keep haunting him for a long time. After a long time, his father comes to him with a proposal of marriage to another girl Susila. Chandran is still skeptical about love and marriage and initially refuses but later decides to see the girl. When he goes on to see the girl, he ends up falling in love with her.