What makes Ratan such a compelling and likable figure in "The Postmaster."

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

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I think that Ratan is so likable and compelling for a couple of reasons.  She is an orphan, and this would have to be one of the primary reasons she is such a compelling figure.  She enters the story and is in the world without anyone.  Her vulnerability is on display for all to see and in Ratan, one recognizes immediately the idea of being able to connect to another person who has nothing.  Ratan's loyalty to the postmaster is another reason she is so likable.  She is selfless in how she devotes herself to the postmaster.  Her commitment to his own comfort is noble, making her an almost transcendent figure in a world of contingency.  The fact that her desperation is on display in begging to be take away from a world of pain and to live only with the postmaster is an instant where one recognizes clearly what it means to live in the sole light of another.  Ratan is driven to devote herself to another and this makes her compelling.  When she is rejected, we recognize what it means to be marginalized, silenced by a social order that is uncaring.  At this moment, we identify with her because her pain and loneliness seeking out her "Dada Babu" represents our own sad moments where we are without recourse and without anyone.  In  her isolated condition, we see the most painful moments of our own being. In this, Ratan is so compelling and likable because she is like ourselves in our most fragile moments.

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