Explain Ratan's quest and love towards the postmaster in Tagore's "The Postmaster."

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

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There will be many different reads on this because Ratan is such a complex character in Tagore's work.  I think that her quest and love towards the postmaster is motivated by the fact that someone in the village shows an interest toward her.   Simply put, she was given an opportunity. It is important to keep in mind that she is an orphan.  She is neglected and cast aside by most of the villagers.  The postmaster is the only one who gives her a chance, acknowledges her narrative and works with her.  Her quest seems to be one of loyalty and devotion towards the postmaster.  She learns in recognition of his attempts, and she is driven to assist him because of her loyalty to him.  When he ends up spurning her to go back, her quest is challenged.  Yet, she continues to hope and does not reject the postmaster despite the rejection she experienced.  In the end, her quest of loyalty and devotion is one that does not waver even though the subject of it has left.  The message here might be that, for Ratan and for us, the quest and our love is about what we love and not what loves us back.  Ratan's love for the postmaster is hers and hers alone.  When she stands and waits for him, when she fetches him water for bathing the morning after he told her of his plans to leave, we see a quiet and stoic dignity in her because she might have realized that it is not what loves her back, but rather what she loves.  Understanding the role of this love on her quest becomes one of the most essential characteristics or traits of Ratan in the Tagore short story.

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mrgandhi | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

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The Postmaster by Rabindranath Tagore

I've figured that it always helps people studying literature, when there is a comprehensive set of ideas they can start from. I've always loved studying literature and spending detailed, organized time analyzing my readings. It helps! The insights it gathers and presents to a person is invaluable.

In the small village of Ulapur, an Englishman who owns an indigo factory near it manages to get a post office established. A postmaster from Calcutta gets separated from his family and transferred to this village. From the noise of the city, he comes to a deserted village with just scattered glimpses of people.

Tagore, a lover of nature, uses it to describe the surroundings. The postmaster’s office has a green, slimy pond, surrounded by dense vegetation. The way he describes this shows that postmaster is not in a position to appreciate his closeness to nature.



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