Discuss the postmaster's quest for love and security through his characterization in Tagore's "The Postmaster."

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

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The postmaster's quest for love and security is a fairly self- interested one.  From nearly the first moment that we are introduced to him, we understand that his sole desire for happiness is to return back to Calcutta.  This flies in the face of Ratan's desire for happiness, which is more centered on living life with him in the village.  In this, his hope for happiness is structured to come at her cost.  Both of their visions are mutually exclusive, and while there is a conveniences shared, it is only a temporary one based on contingency.  The postmaster is one whose end goal for love and security is based on temporary and transcendent ends.  On one hand, he finds happiness and security in the life that Ratan makes for him.  She tends to house for him, assists him in his duties, and takes care of him when he is sick.  In this temporary condition, his quest for love and security is met.  When he receives the transfer orders to Calcutta and ends up leaving without Ratan, his transcendent or permanent quest for love and security is also accomplished in that he achieves what he wants.  There might be some pangs of pain that exist in his when he leaves her behind, but he rationalizes them away, ensuring that nothing, if anything, will stand in his way for love and security.  This sense of happiness accomplished at the cost of anothers is why Tagore cannot identify with him at the end of the narrative. While the story is in his name, it is really Ratan's, who continues to wander about the village in the hopes of seeing her "Dadababu" again, and in accomplishing her quest for love and security.

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