The Man-eater of Malgudi is one of the most impressive novels of R.K. Narayan. In it, all the three important aspects of a novel namely plot, theme, and characterization have been successfully carried out. Round a somewhat, unusual story, the writer has a woman a highly serious ethical and spiritual thematic pattern. The choice of a taxidermist as the central character of the novel is in itself rather unusual. It is on the surface the story of a simple innocent and passive Natraj falling a victim to the crookedness and mischief of a deceitful, cunning, ungrateful and even inhuman Vasu.
Natraj runs a press and leads a peaceful life with his wife and his only child Babu. He is too good to think of doing any harm to anyone. He is also extremely generous, benevolent, and kind. But his peaceful and harmonious domestic as well as the profession is infringed by a wayward notorious and ungrateful taxidermist Vasu. He enters the press of Natraj as a customer, and just by the show of his physical strength lodges himself in the attic of Natraj’s house much against gradually his evil nature starts unfolding itself and spoils the name, fame, and peace of Natraj. As Natraj himself helplessly amidst “Vasu has destroyed my name, my friendship, and my world”. But the brute physical strength of which Vasu is so proud recoils on him and destroys him. He strikes his temple with his fist in sleep to drive away mosquitoes so forcefully that he breaks his skull and dies.
Title significance of ” The Man-Eater of Malgudi” runs around the negative character Vasu whom, the narrator has drawn in the panoramic vision of a common notorious person who thinks wrong, does wrong, and accept wrong all along. “The Man-Eater of Malgudi” a symbolic reference to the negative character Vasu who had entered into the life of Natraj like a disaster. He had brought an unhealthy atmosphere inter winded in the life of common novel class people like Natraj, Sastri, Mr. Sen, and Muthu. He is denoted the Man-Eater only because he always looked spoiling the sustained peace, quietness, and humanism like a rhetorical demon (Asur or Rakshasa). Indeed appearance at Malgudi looks like an appearance of the storm in the peaceful atmosphere of Malgudi. On coming at first he showed his unwanted rudeness in the peaceful life of Natraj and his peaceful family. Vasu’s ill-nature grew day by day ignoring the importance of humanism. At first, his personal occupation as a taxidermist is enough to entitle him the man-eater yet his ill behavior and spoiling attitude stubbed this through his ill and anti-humanistic nature. To kill innocent animals, to kill wild animals without permission, to distract and disturb Natraj and other gentlemen alone with his lawlessness behavior indicate him a complete man-eater, suddenly appear in the peaceful atmosphere of Malgudi.
This taxidermist went working with his ill and rude activity in the peaceful atmosphere of Malgudi. At first, he by force captured the house of Natraj without paying him any rent for this. The next he started to keep the skin of animals in the house of Natraj which was spreading dirty smell everywhere. Third, his rude behavior not only for Natraj and his assistance but also for the coming customer in the printing press of Natraj. It means all his rude behavior and activities strongly prove the appearance of Vasu as a man-eater of Malgudi.
R.K. Narayan has designed the title of “The Man-eater of Malgudi” to justify wrong thinking for a rude man like Vasu. Although the novel begins with a peaceful atmosphere in the house of Natraj but very soon the track of the novel gets a change when Vasu brook into the novel with all his negative activities and attitude. R.K. Narayan design this negative character like a wild behavior of a tiger who lives for self and acts for self without any emotional feeling for others for normal creatures. Vasu abnormality is similar to a wild man-eater so monograph of a novel moves around personage negativity of Vasu as a man-eater.
Also, Read The Autobiography of Unknown Indian by Nirad C.Chaudhuri