In the story "The Postmaster" by Rabindranath Tagore, explain the role of the postmaster in Ratan's life and Ratan's role in the postmaster's life.

In "The Postmaster," the postmaster comes to play a very important part in Ratan's life. He provides her with a substitute father figure to whom she becomes increasingly close. In turn, Ratan plays an important part in the postmaster's life by providing him with much-needed companionship.

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In Rabindranath Tagore's short story “The Postmaster,” Ratan is the postmaster's servant. She is merely an orphan girl, but she cooks his meals, draws water for him, and nurses him when he is sick. She also provides company for the postmaster, a person to talk to in the midst of his loneliness and isolation in the small village of Ulapur, where no one has the time or inclination to be particularly friendly toward him. Ratan listens to his stories, gets to know his life and family well, and provides him with some stories of her own. To fill his spare time, the postmaster even begins to teach Ratan how to read.

Overall, Ratan becomes a companion and caretaker (both physically and emotionally) to the postmaster. Unfortunately, however, he does not completely realize what a good friend she has been to him. He even wishes for “some kindred soul ... just one loving human being whom I could hold near my heart,” not realizing that one is right in front of him.

For Ratan's part, the postmaster becomes her whole world. She has lost her parents and brother quite a while before, and she is all alone. No one in the village seems to pay much attention to her or care what happens to her. So when the postmaster extends a friendly hand, Ratan is quick to grasp it. She throws herself into serving him, talking to him, listening to him, and learning from him. When the postmaster becomes ill, she even steps into the role of motherly nurse.

It is no wonder, then, that when the postmaster withdraws from Ratan, she is confused and hurt. When he calls her name again, she jumps up with hope, but the news he shares is the worst thing that could happen in Ratan's eyes. The postmaster is going away. Ratan is stunned speechless, and then she finally dares to ask if he will take her with him. The postmaster merely laughs, which hurts Ratan more. She holds on to hope as long as she can, but when it becomes clear that the postmaster really will leave her behind, she bursts into tears. Ratan does not want his money; she wants him. He has become a father to her, and now he is leaving, and her world falls apart once again.

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In the touching short story "The Postmaster" by Rabindranath Tagore, a young man from Calcutta moves to a remote village called Ulapur for his first assignment. He hires Ratan, an orphan girl, to do odd jobs for him. These two characters are drawn together by circumstances, but their viewpoints of the relationship are very different.

For the postmaster, Ratan's role in his life is as a servant. She works for him, and in exchange he feeds her. She is someone with whom he can somewhat relieve his loneliness by means of conversation, and so he asks about her past and her family and also tells her of his. His decision to teach her English is more out of boredom and ennui than out of concern for her welfare. We realize he has not become emotionally attached to her, because when he decides to leave, it doesn't even cross his mind to take her along, and when she suggests it, he exclaims, "What an idea!" The shallowness with which he regards their relationship is evident during his departure. He momentarily considers going back to get Ratan, but the thought quickly passes and does not return.

The role of the postmaster in Ratan's life is deeper and more complex. She has lost her father and mother, and the postmaster becomes a substitute for her family. She refers to him as "Dada," which is the term that Bengali-speaking people use for "elder brother." The postmaster has been missing "the presence of loving womanhood, the nearness of mother and sister." In the postmaster's illness, Ratan takes on this role, tending to him until he feels better. She takes the role to heart, and that's why she asks to go with him, because she wants to continue to be like one of his family. The postmaster, as well as his absent mother and sister that he tells her about, in Ratan's mind takes the place of the family that Ratan has lost. Unfortunately, we realize by the end that the postmaster does not share this sentiment, and so he goes away and leaves Ratan alone with her heartbreak.

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The postmaster and the little orphan girl Ratan come to play an increasingly important role in each other's lives. Driven by a sense of mutual need, they develop a relatively close relationship that provides them with something that's missing in their lives.

As an orphan, Ratan naturally doesn't have a family. All she has are vague memories of her father and mother, as well as of a little brother with whom she would go fishing. That being the case, she looks to the postmaster as a kind of substitute father figure. In fact, she starts calling the postmaster “Dada” as if he really were her father.

The postmaster also fulfills the role of teacher in Ratan's life, as he goes about the difficult task of teaching her how to read. For his part, the postmaster takes this as an opportunity to keep his brain working in a small village where intellectual stimulation is at a premium.

The main roles that Ratan plays in the postmaster's life are those of helper and companion. She regularly runs errands for him and lights the fire needed for cooking. More importantly, she provides the postmaster with some much-needed companionship. All alone in a remote village with no family or friends, the postmaster is in desperate need of Ratan's company, and as the story progresses, he becomes closer to her as he shares details of his family life with the orphan girl.

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To a great extent, the postmaster plays a formative role in Ratan's life.  He helps to give her purpose and meaning.  The opening of the story is one in which Ratan wanders around Ulapur, not really having a defined reason.  Yet, with the postmaster, she has this purpose.  Whether it is to help him, be there for him, tend to him, or even be seen as a colleague in his struggles, Ratan recognizes fully this purpose in being.  As she is an orphan and someone shown to not have a family, what the postmaster gives her is a sense of identity and a sense of purpose.  The postmaster gives this to her and she understands this, worships it and is passionate about it.  It is in this realm that Ratan understands what the postmaster has given to her.  When he says he is leaving, her desire to go with him is because she understands what the implications are of his leaving.  The purpose that she held with him is in danger of leaving, necessitating her desire to go with him.  In this, there is a clear understanding of what the postmaster gave to Ratan, making his decision to leave her even more callous.

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