In the climax of "The Postmaster," how is the contrast between individual thinking highlighted?

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

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The point where the climax is evident exists when the postmaster receives his transfer back to Calcutta and when Ratan asks to accompany him.  It is also at this point where the strong  contrast between individual thought is evident.  The postmaster's thought process is reflective of self- interest.  He sees his transfer as something that could not have come soon enough and can only think of him leaving Ulapur and returning home. His thought process is individualistic in that he makes plans and efforts to ensure that Ratan remains in Ulapur and helps the next postmaster.

Ratan's individual thinking process is geared towards solidarity and reflective of a thought process where she thinks more than of herself.  She has identified her being with the postmaster.  She sees herself as one linked to him.  It is for this reason that she asks to go with him.  Given her characterization, she is not asking to go with him in order to see her life improve.  Rather, she asks to go with him because her thought process is one that identifies with the postmaster and his well being. The way in which she tends to him when he is ill or constantly stands vigil for him is reflective that she has found a sense of being in identifying with him.  Her thought process in asking to go with him comes from a position of identification with something beyond herself.

It is at this point where their thought processes can be contrasted.  He thinks of himself.  She thinks of him. In the end, he leaves and while he might feel bad about his decision, he has his rationalizations and philosophical outlook to accompany him while he gets what he desired.  Ratan roams around the village with no one and nothing to guide her.  The ending is reflective of both characters' divergence in thought patterns and individual thinking.

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