In a nutshell, narrate the story of "The Postmaster."

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

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The essence of a narration of Tagore's short story starts from the general, focuses on the specific, and then goes back to the general with the specifics falling within such a configuration.  The initial narration of the general involves laying out Ulapur as a village.  Its location near the factory, but state of isolation has to be emphasized.  Those who live in Ulapur have lived their for some time and there is a way about it that makes it difficult for the outsider to fully immerse themselves into such a condition.

From here, the specific are introduced in a narrative scope.  It is in this state of being that the postmaster enters.  He initially sees Ulapur as a way for him to find his artistic voice and a sense of control.  He settles there with his position at the post office, tries his hand at writing, and even open philosophic inquiry.  Yet, the postmaster finds life in Ulapur deadening and extremely boring. At the same time, Ratan emerges. She lives the life of an orphan, wandering from place to place in Ulapur and accepts life as an outsider.  The villagers in Ulapur do not pay attention to her.  From this, both find one another.  The postmaster essentially employs Ratan in a domestic capacity.  Their relationship forms from this point.  He looks at her as a sounding board to hear about life in Calcutta or life with his mom and sister.  Ratan, thrilled with being included, absorbs this life as her own, referring to his mom and sister as her own.  She tends to him when the postmaster takes sick and he teaches her the fundamental basics of literacy.  As their time together increases, so does the potential for intimacy.  While this is transpiring, he never tells her that he has put in for a transferal of position to the city.  When it comes through, he tells her that he is leaving.  Broken, she asks him to come with, to which he laughs.  The next morning, he tries to give her money as a type of parting gift, to which she cannot restrain her hurt and rejection and runs away.

From this point, the narrative reference goes back to the general scope of reference. As the postmaster leaves on the boat back to Calcutta, the postmaster vaguely feels some level of guilt, a crying from the Earth that he takes to be Ratan's.  While he feels a moment of sadness- a temporary condition that almost makes him leap off the boat to go get her- he rationalizes that such pain is the way of the world and it is part of being in the world.  Such a philosophical rationalization is made as he sees the waves created by the water underneath.  This general condition oversees Ratan wandering around the village, wondering when and if her "dadababu" will return.  The broken hearts and pain of being in the world encompasses what she feels, almost as a part of the natural world.  I think that a narration of Tagore's story would best operate in this frame of reference, as Tagore renders.

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