The most important theme in “A Horse and Two Goats”, and in fact the central theme of Narayan’s work, is the clash of cultures. Do you agree?
Clash of cultures is the central theme of the story “A horse and Two Goats” but it has small themes which have to do with it. In the following essay I will name and explain all the themes in the story which are related to clash of cultures.
The first theme I will explain is colonization or consequences of colonization. The story is set in India, after the independence from Great Britain. When India was colonized she lost her dignity, her culture and her past. This brought huge consequences to the times of this story. For example, the fact that the American goes there to visit and thinks that Muni should speak English because everyone there does. “”…can’t you understand even a simple word of English? Everyone in this country seems to know English.”” Muni doesn’t speak English due to the fact that he is from the old school and when the British came to India he was old and didn’t mind to learn a new language. He also had the intention to retain his language and identity. But the people who had talked to the American might have been young and could have time to learn the new language.
Disappearance of Indian culture is the next theme. As you can see after the British came, they took away the Indian culture, or forgot it, and metaphorically, digged the Indian past. It’s seen in the story when the American buys the horse and takes it away to the USA when the horse had a very strong importance for the Indian culture. “…”This is our guardian […] a horse called Kalki. This horse will […] trample down all bad men”…”. Then, Muni started to tell stories related to this statue which means a lot to his Indian past. But only we readers can know that. Not the American because he doesn’t understand. So there is where irony appears as a theme, although it is also a tone throughout story.
Contrast of cultures is another important theme. It consists of the differences that we notice on the American and Indian cultures when the conversation takes place. One difference could be the religion. Muni has a very complex religion with a lot of stories and Gods. “Muni was still hovering on visitors of Avatars…”. Avatars are Gods for the Indian religion. The american never talks about religion. Maybe it’s not that important for him. Then we have the marriage differences. Muni had married at a very young age and, of course he didn’t chose his wife. “He was told on his day if wedding that he was ten and she was eight.” The American also had a wife but, of course, he chose her and they married at a conventional age. So here we get to know the theme related to love. In the story it says that “They had lived in each other’s company since they were children.” But now, his wife wasn’t putting up with him very much lately.
Finally I will explain the Clash of Cultures theme which partially consists of the differences of both cultures when they meet. No one of them can understand a thing. Both, the American and Muni are talking about different things. “The man said “I come from New York”…” “…Muni shrank away […] perhaps he was trying to present a warrant and arrest him”. No one of them could understand. This theme, Clash of Cultures, includes all the themes named before. It includes the Consequences of Colonization because in the colonization the cultures also meet; it includes Disappearance of Indian Culture since when this cultures meet, the horse, which represents Indian past, is taken away; It includes irony because the characters don’t know what they are saying but we, readers, do; it includes contrast of cultures because in their encounter of cultures you can notice the differences and it includes love, because the two cultures have different ways of understanding it and living it.
In conclusion, the story deals with a lot themes which have to do and are related to the theme Clash of Cultures.