A Horse and Two Goats

This study guide will help you analyse the text “A Horse and Two Goats” by R.K. Narayan.  We will show you examples of elements in the text that will be relevant for your analysis. In these notes, we will focus on the summary, structure, characters, setting, point of view and narrator, language, themes and perspectives.

Presentation of the text

Title: “A Horse and Two Goats”
Author: R.K. Narayan
Published in: “A Horse and Two Goats and Other Stories”
Date of Publication: 1970
Genre: Short Story

R.K. Narayan (1906-2001) was an Indian writer, born in British India in 1906. He started writing after first trying to adapt working as an administrative clerk and a teacher. The author’s first literary attempts were rejected, but he eventually gained popularity in 1945 thanks to his novel “The English Teacher”. Today, Narayan is considered one of the most popular Indian authors who wrote in English.


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The horse statue is one of the most powerful symbols in the story. For Muni, the horse statue has religious symbolism, as it is connected to the Hindu God Vishnu and His reincarnations: “ ‘And this horse will come to life then, and that is why this is the most sacred village in the whole world.’ ” For the American, the horse statue represents an object worthy of admiration, but purely for its aesthetic value: “ ‘Marvellous!’ he cried, pacing slowly around the statue.” The horse statue could also symbolize the characters’ cultural differences, as they do not see it the same way.

The warrior statue symbolizes power and wealth: “The image-makers of the old had made the eyes bulge out when they wished to indicate a man of strength, just as the beads around the warrior’s neck were meant to show his wealth.”  For the American, however, the statue represents yet another object that is admired purely because of its aesthetic value: “ ‘Although I am charmed by the moustached soldier, I will have to come next year for him. No space for him now.’ ” 




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A Horse and Two Goats

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