Who do you think is the central character — Muni or the horse in the short story “A Horse and Two Goats” by R. K. Narayan?
In R. K. Narayan’s short story “A Horse and Two Goats”, Muni and the clay horse both are important figures but Muni is undoubtedly the central character of the story.
Of course, the horse statue constitutes a considerable part of the story and even makes it to the title of the story. Moreover, the statue was the thing of prime interest to the American visitor. The base of his conversation with Muni was the beauty and artistic value of the clay statue and his willingness to buy the clay horse. And this very horse statue proved to be a blessing for Muni to give him an entire new life with the monetary gain he enjoyed. So, this is very easy to get carried away and think that the horse was the main figure in the story.
But in reality, the story “A Horse and Two Goats” is all about Muni and his distressed life with all his ignorance, prejudices, grudges, desires and hopes.
The story is more concerned with the social evils like ignorance, prejudices, discriminations and so on. R. K. Narayan very vividly depicts the themes of cultural clash between the west and the east, the theme of poverty and wealth, theme of knowledge, wisdom and ignorance and of caste and class distinctions in the society. And all that has been possible through the revelations of Muni himself. In fact, the entire story revolves around Muni’s life which represents millions of common people in India.
Add to that, the horse statue is introduced much later in the story and that is only a part of the main plot to reveal the luxury of the western wealthy people and their sense of artistic value. The statue also helps in bringing out the prejudices and innocent beliefs of the common people through Muni’s stories about the horse coming alive and saving good people at the end of the worlds.
So, to conclude, it’s a no-brainer that Muni is the protagonist of the story “A Horse and Two Goats” and the clay horse plays a supporting role for some important revelations.