How does Tagore show the true essence of the postmaster?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The postmaster is an intellectual, but is one that is difficult to really appreciate.  He has been relocated to this remote village from Calcutta.  He is not entirely happy being in the village, putting in for a transfer.  He reluctantly does his job, but is more driven by his own self- satisfaction, which is not evident in this village.  He is also shown to be quite callous in his relationship with Ratan.  Whereas the orphaned girl shows complete devotion and love towards him, the postmaster regards her as nothing more than a distraction, a type of toy that can be played and discarded at will.  The postmaster does teach Ratan how to read, but only does so because of the need for distraction.  His true callousness is revealed when Ratan asks to come back to Calcutta with him and he laughs as he rejects her request.  Tagore is specific in bringing out this laughter again, the type of derisive laughter that mocks and is one that Ratan plays over in her own mind.  The ending also reveals that while the postmaster might feel bad about leaving her behind, he rationalizes it with a sort of "life goes on" philosophy, something that Ratan lacks to use as comfort for her pain. This picture rendered makes him something less than desirable.

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