How is the contrtast between the city life and village life brought out in the story "The Postmaster" ?

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

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Naturally, there is a disparity between urban and rural life in Tagore's short story.  The postmaster, representing the urban setting, cannot fully adjust to life in the small village.  He comes to cast many an aspersion upon life in the rural setting.  In this same light, one can see Ratan representing the village life and the lifeblood of what Tagore might see India as.  While she might be provincial, Ratan comes to mean so much more than that in the course of the story.  Being the case aside orphan is one part of this, but her loyalty and her willingness to do whatever is needed to assist the Postmaster makes her a noble figure.  At the same time, she is able to withstand the conditions that weakens the Postmaster, oftentimes nursing him to help.  When she is cast aside by the Postmaster, there is a moment of hesitation in his actions.  In this moment of doubt, one can see the statement that Tagore seems to be making about the village life in India.  While India might live in the cities, the identity of the nation can be found in the toil and tireless efforts of the villager, of the rural setting.  In a nation that is known for bustling metropolis such as Delhi, Mumbai, or Kolkata, Tagore might be suggesting that India is a country of villagers, individuals who demonstrate the same moral and intestinal strength of Ratan.

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