In "The Postmaster," what does" ripping our veins and draining our heart's blood until regaining conciousness" mean?"

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

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These lines come at the end of Tagore's short story.  They come at a point where Tagore is backed into a corner, of sorts.  He has presented a narrative that is A) in search of an ending and B) begs to be explained.  Tagore concludes his discussion of the Postmaster and Ratan with a sense of the unresolved.  In the case of the former, he recognizes that he broke Ratan's heart, caused her to feel pain, and for a moment, he experiences these same sensations.  Yet, he rationalizes and uses his own philosophical background to will this pain away.  Tagore cannot explain why he does what he does.  Ratan is left to wander the village in search for her "dadababu."  She wanders in the hopes he returns, and there is an immense portrait of sadness in this orphan who found belonging, only to be exiled back into the rootless world again.  Tagore cannot explain why she feels what she feels.  This is where he is by the end of the story.  Essentially, he is left to philosophically and rationally explain the unexplainable and irrational domain of emotions.  It is here where Tagore essentially talks about how consciousness in the world is a crushing combination of despair and hope. The landscape of the former is punctuated by those moments of the latter.  Within this configuration, hope, the belief in redemption and the pain that follows is what "rips our veins" and helps to "Drain our heart's blood until regaining consciousness."  Yet, while this experience might prevent individuals from believing or pursuing hope or redemption, it is not the case.  Individuals fall into "snares of delusion" to pursue these ends again.  Consciousness, for Tagore, is a setting where the despair and hope dynamic of Ratan wandering, exiled from community, seeks to find belonging, somewhere, anywhere.  It is in this vision where Tagore offers his own philosophical explanation that helps to allow better understanding of both the postmaster and Ratan, and end the short story in a manner where we cannot help but apply these lessons into our own lives and experiences.

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