“The Young Couple” by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and “A Horse and Two Goats” by R.K. Narayan both explore the theme of culture-clash, but illustrate it in two very diverse ways. The diversity comes from how uncommon the two protagonists, Cathy for “The Young Couple” and Muni for “A Horse and Two Goats, are from each other. This then gives space for other, more significant and more prominent differences to occur.
Both stories demonstrate language barriers which in Muni’s case, given that he is a poor village man, is his inability to communicate with the American tourist whereas Cathy in “A Young Couple” is unable to converse with the Indian sweeper woman that works in her Indian home everyday.
Nevertheless it can be argued that Cathy’s inability to talk to the sweeper woman is a minor problem in “The Young Couple” when compared to “A Horse and Two Goats” where the language barrier warrants a misunderstanding to occur. Although the outcome is generally comic, it is very central in terms of the plot whereas in “The Young Couple”, being unable to speak with the sweeper woman is the least of Cathy’s problems.
Muni lacks worldly wisdom as Narayan, the writer of “A Horse and Two Goats”, tells us that he perceives anyone dressed in khaki to be authoritative and therefore keeps a distance. This makes sense as the colour of police uniform and army uniform in India is khaki.
However, in “A Young Couple”, Cathy seems to know enough about India to confidently stay there despite being English. Jhabvala, the writer of “The Young Couple”, even states that Cathy is happy to have moved to India on account of her marriage with husband Naraian.
It could be said that the two stories are similar in terms of worldly wisdom as while Muni keeps away from the man dressed in khaki; Cathy is not completely aware of Indian customs and hence, begins to feel trapped by them.
Both stories talk about class and how it impacts on the protagonists’ lives. In “A Horse and Two Goats”, the...