How has Rabindranath Tagore related human characterization with natural setting in his story, "The Postmaster?"

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

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I think that Tagore has done a fairly effective job of linking human personality with the natural settings in "The Postmaster."  The fact that Ratan, the orphan, is a village girl is effective for a couple of reasons.  The fact that Ratan is considered discarded might be significant in terms of relating how village life in India is perceived in comparison to its urban counterpart.  Additionally, I think that Ratan's strength and courage, her willingness to stand alone when others have left is reflective how Tagore saw the "Indian spirit" of resilience.  It is no surprise that someone as nationalistic as Tagore linked these traits with the village girl, Ratan.  By contrast, the urbane postmaster is one who is inconsistent and not really as reliable or even as physically austere as Ratan.  Her mettle and sense of character is far more strong than his, and this is evident in both how Tagore depicts both of them in the village setting.  The fact that he leaves back to Calcutta and presents a waffling figure of the postmaster reflects how Tagore feels about him and the loyalty he shows and admires in Ratan.  In this light, Tagore has been able to link  natural setting to characterization and even political beliefs.

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