Explain: "The lamp water flickered weakly; through a hole in the crumbling roof, rain water steadily dripped on to an earthenware dish."These are the lines of story "The Postmaster" written by...

Explain:

"The lamp water flickered weakly; through a hole in the crumbling roof, rain water steadily dripped on to an earthenware dish."

These are the lines of story "The Postmaster" written by Ravindranath Tagore.

The paragraph is as follows:

Ratan did not question him further. The postmaster himself told her that he had applied for a transfer, but his application has been rejected; so he was resigning from his post and returning home. From several minutes niether of them spoke. The lamp water flickered weakly; through a hole in the crumbling roof, rain water steadily dripped on to an earthenware dish. Ratan went slowly out to the kitchen to make some chapatti. She made them with none of her usual energy. No doubt her thoughts distracted her.

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The excerpt seems to indicate a sense of forlornness or despair at the postmaster's news.  The use of physical imagery from the immediate present helps to convey the sense of disquietude that Ratan feels.  Rather than resort to a very cheap and artificial statement, I think that Tagore allows the feelings to develop in both Ratan and the reader upon hearing the news of the postmaster going home.  The news must have been jarring and to experience it with the physical experience of seeing rain water dripping, a flickering lamp, and the consistent hitting of rain drops on the dish helps to bring to light the moments upon hearing the news and what the news means.  It's almost as if nature will not spare Ratan from what she has to experience and her making rotis without her usual flare or zeal is a statement that she might be accepting what the natural world has already understood.  The physical descriptors help to bring to light an emotional and internal experience and I think that their inclusion is meant to link external reality and subjective narrative.