The text aims to provide background material on Raja Rao and an understanding of the various aspects of the novel. To comprehend the novel, students need to first understand the writer and his life along with the influence they exert on the novel. The study guide is designed to be published along with the text of the novel; hence the first seven pages serve as an introduction to Raja Rao and his life. The next three pages examine the novel in the context of the novelist. Raja Rao's Foreword to the book is an important document; hence the next five pages examine the foreword in the light of the students' understanding and give a critical estimate of the aspects that the writer talks about.
The ninety-odd pages that follow are meant to be placed after the text of the novel and serve as a critical commentary. The areas that are covered in these pages are areas that were carefully chosen by sifting through the question papers of the universities that teach the novel. The following areas are covered in detail with due critical attention:
- Language, technique and style
- The songs in the novel
- The title
- The theme
- The Skeffington coffee estate
- Characterisation: Mahatma Gandhi, Moorthy, Patel Range Gowda, Rangamma, Ratna, Seenu, Rachanna,Bade Khan,Ramakrishnayya, Shastri, Jayaramachar,Bhatta, Waterfall Venkamma, Swami and Sankar.
- The social scene in the novel.
This detailed discussion is followed by an extended glossary of fifteen pages. This glossary has been put together with the idea that it can be used in an international edition of the book as well. So, it takes the trouble to explain concepts that are commonplace for Indian readers.
Prof. C.L.Dhamija retired from active teaching as a teacher of English at DAV College, Chandigarh, India and is currently a full-time writer.
Prof. Deepti Gupta is a professor at the Department of English and Cultural Studies at the Panjab University, Chandigarh, India.