Literature and Personality Development: A Case of Anita Nair’s Idris
The impact of great literary works on the reader as a human being has been established to be highly positive and favorable by such classic works as the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, the Bible; the great works of Goethe, Voltaire, Shakespeare, Milton, Tolstoy etc.. Unfortunately under the influence of the mechanical life styles, the youth of the present generation are alienating themselves from this positive influence of literature despite the fact that modern literature also carries this ability to impact the growing mind.
In this paper it is argued that a historical novel Idris by Anita Nair is a case in point. In Idris the seemingly minor character, the boy Kandavar, is a product of the secret and unexpected meeting between Idris, the protagonist who is a foreigner and Kuttimallu, a beautiful and young Keralite widow. He takes after his unknown father who is tall and dark. Both father and son meet quite accidentally when Kandavar is nine years old and this meeting becomes so intimate that Kandavar’s uncle requests Idris to take the boy with him on his foreign tours of trade so that the boy will learn the ways of the world. Thus Kandavar accompanies Idris who is a strange foreigner to the boy and they return to Malabar after two years when Kandavar is eleven years old. A number of incidents in the novel during this time contribute to the development of Kandavar as a mature individual. In fact he becomes more mature than his age. In this paper Kandavar’s development is traced by referring to the major episodes in this context. The major aim of this paper is to show how this novel provides an inspiration for personality development on the part of the young reader.