The Blind Dog by R.K. Narayan

In The Blind Dog by R.K. Narayan we have the theme of struggle, connection, greed, freedom, control and loyalty. Taken from his Malgudi Days collection the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and after reading the story the reader realises that Narayan may be exploring the theme of struggle. Both the blind man and Tiger have difficulties in their everyday lives. Each day the blind man struggles to get enough money to live on while Tiger struggles with getting food and ends up getting into fights with other dogs just in order to survive. It is as though both the blind man and Tiger have something in common or something that connects both of them. It is also interesting that at first the blind man is appreciate of Tiger’s company and his diligence when it comes to people trying to steal from him. However as time passes the reader soon realises that the blind man is a tyrant when it comes to how he treats Tiger. Tiger for the blind man is not a pet or friend or a helping hand rather he is a simply a work dog that is there to serve the blind man. Any type of life that Tiger had previously known is soon forgotten due to the tyranny of the blind man. If anything Tiger is there to serve the blind man just as a servant would serve their master.

It is also noticeable that the blind man starts to become greedy. He wishes to increase his daily income so he works Tiger more and more. He also starts to lend other people money while at the same time charging them interest. While some may pity the blind man because of the very fact he is blind others might suggest that the blind man is becoming greedy and taking advantage of Tiger’s good-nature. The blind man knows he will make more money by walking along the streets with Tiger leading the way and there is a sense that the main priority for the blind man is no longer just survival but he is beginning to be driven by a desire for more money. Rather than treating Tiger with kindness and being grateful that Tiger is helping him. The blind man often beats Tiger which may suggest that the blind man is being cruel.

It may also be important that others notice how the blind man is treating Tiger as by having others notice what is happening Narayan may be using their voices as a consensus to stop what is happening Tiger. The cutting of the ribbon by the ribbon vendor may also be important as symbolically this action acts as a path to freedom for Tiger. He is able to live his life as he had previously lived it. Running free. It is also noticeable after Tiger has been set free how reliant the blind man was on Tiger. He is no longer able to walk along the streets and his income drops severely. Something which causes great anguish to the blind man. At no stage in the story does the reader suspect that the blind man is repentant about his treatment of Tiger. If anything he wants to beat Tiger should he end up finding him. Which again suggests a servant and master relationship between Tiger and the blind man. Rather than a common bond of friendship between the two. If anything the relationship between Tiger and the blind man is one sided. In favour of the blind man. Yet the blind man never realises that he needs Tiger more than Tiger needs him.

The end of the story is also interesting as Narayan appears to be exploring the theme of loyalty. By returning to the blind man Tiger is showing his loyalty. Even though it is clear to the reader that nothing will change between Tiger and the blind man. Something that is noticeable by the fact that the blind man now has bought a chain to ensure that Tiger does not run away again. There is a sense that the blind man is in complete control of Tiger again. As to why Tiger has returned is difficult to say when as readers we are aware of how badly he has been treated by the blind man. However it is possible that Narayan is suggesting that just as the blind man is blind so too is Tiger’s loyalty. He is willing to forgive the blind man’s actions towards him even though he has been unfairly treated. It is also possible that Tiger has sympathy for the blind man. Even though he knows he can be cruel to him. However what is clear at the end of the story is that Tiger’s freedom has been lost again. He is to spend his days acting as a servant to an ungrateful master. Which suggests symbolically that Tiger may be as blind as the blind man. His loyalty will only end up killing him.

Cite Post
McManus, Dermot. "The Blind Dog by R.K. Narayan." The Sitting Bee. The Sitting Bee, 5 Oct. 2017. Web.


  • I am a fan of this story maybe next time you can classify all the elements of prose under their headings.

  • Give a short analysis of this story.

  • The dog wasn’t blind…!!

  • This story is amazing. I read this story hundreds of times.

  • it was not loyalty that made the dog return to the blind man it was his greed that made him return to the blind man. The greed for good loaf of bread which was given by the blind man. Yeah it is true that the bling man needed the dog most but the dog got his bread without much struggle.

  • This story is an allegory for India’s relationship with another nation – do you know whom? 🙂

  • This is a remarkable story, Tiger blindly agrees to get chained scarifying his freedom. We cannot empathize with the blind beggar as soon we realize he his working Tiger, the dog for his greed and selfishness. As per my understanding, it is all about dependency, how we often surrender or linger in comfort zones, getting rid of the struggles to survive meekly.

    Tiger, the dog, comes back; as he no longer wanted to struggle on the streets, this time, it is not just a ribbon. But a iron chain. So, it is just like, when you return to old job; you have more stricter conditions. Job or turning back relatives, friends, where you thought that you were victimized. But you return to the so called safe heaven. Even after suffered humiliating scenes, you still agree to continue.

    This story advises us to courageous on the hind sight, be cautious of scrupulous vendors. It has helped me emotionally, this story made me think harder, stopped me, just in time. As I was looking to turn back to just one of the persons, who was similar to the blind beggar. The iron on Tiger is scary, we cannot sympathize with him too any longer, as he chose, the iron chain himself, got selfish and greedy enough or maybe got scared of the streets after getting food cheaply. The beggar seems to have eyes and Tiger blindly accepting his fate, hence…The blind dog. Awesomely written and his trademark simple, illustrative concepts flow lucidly on paper.

  • Would trust count as a theme of this story?

  • But where is the dog? In the story

  • But I didn’t found I found only tiger

  • It is a dog , but here it’s written Tiger ! Change it LOL!

  • cutting of the ribbon was by perfume vendor. I think

  • The story makes us to understand the affection between animal and man Vs. man and animal. The first one is without any expectations, but the second one is with expectation and with an intention to get support.

    For instance, instead of the dog if it is a goat would that blind man would have accepted a goat to guide him? – Never.

    So, the man is greedy, and he keeps the dog not as pet for affection, but with some purpose which is otherwise called ‘business’.

    All the animals show affection towards mankind, but do we repeat the same with the animals?

    So, be kind to animals. Treat them as our friends, because God has created this world for animals too !

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