Provide a character sketch of the postmaster as he is depicted in Rabindranath Tagore's short story The Postmaster.

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andrewnightingale eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The postmaster, a native of Calcutta, is an intellectual and a profound thinker. He often thinks about life and philosophizes about various subjects. He is apparently lonely and feels displaced. He wants to share his deepest thoughts and sentiments with someone close but cannot, unfortunately, find it in himself to communicate with the locals for he does not deem them decent or intelligent enough. This attitude suggests a somewhat supercilious awareness about himself. Furthermore, he does not come across as very sociable—partly, for these reasons—and he also appears to be proud and ill at ease in strange company.

The postmaster seems to have a penchant for writing, but he is not inspired. He evidently feels glum about the backward conditions in his current area and longs for a better infrastructure, such as tarred roads and less jungle. It is this absence of modernization that leaves him uninspired. Generally speaking, the postmaster is bored. He does, however, have vivid memories of his family back home and often reminisces about them with Ratan, the orphaned village girl who does odd jobs for him. Even so, he misses female company, and Ratan is not a suitable replacement.

It is evident that the postmaster is a creature of habit because he has maintained his custom of bathing in water drawn, and kept, in pitchers, unlike the residents of the area who wash in the river. The postmaster seems to be kind and caring because he treats Ratan with a firm but gentle hand. He appears to appreciate what she does for him, and he is never harsh or demanding. He also enjoys the companionship she provides, and he takes to teaching her how to read. He displays great generosity when he gives her almost his entire month's salary before he leaves. Furthermore, he tries to comfort the distraught girl by saying that he will tell his replacement to take care of her. 

We also learn that the postmaster is regretful, for he feels "a tug at his heart" after leaving the village. He feels sorry for having left Ratan behind and, on impulse, wants to return and bring her with him, but it is too late for his ship has already set sail. On the whole, then, the postmaster is an intelligent, caring, and generous individual who is caught up in an unfortunate situation from which he eventually decides he has to escape. 

sukhmanjeetkaur | Student

The Postmaster was a Calcutta boy. He was posted to a small village Ulapur. He didn't like to live in a village. He felt ill at ease like fish out of water in the village. There he didn't find any good company. He missed the metalled roads, buildings and crowd of people . He was an educated man and felt odd living in the village with iiliterate people. He had a helper in his house named Ratan, who was an orphan girl. She did domestic work of his house and took care of him. During the time of Shravan the postmaster felt ill and missed his family members- mother  and sister. Ratan nursed him tenderly and warmly. Ratan was the only good company for the postmaster. He taught alphabet to Ratan and shared feeling of memories of his mother and sister. When the postmaster was ill, ratan put her soft hands on his head that remembered the postmaster his mother. In this condition of sickness he remembered his mother and sister and wanted to return back so that he resigned from his job. when he told his decision to Ratan she liked to go with him but according to postmaster philosophy "separations and deaths are the part of life "

keinjsingh | Student
Postmaster is the main character in the story of RabindraNath Tagore. He was a city dweller. He was posted to village of ullapur so he g\feels a fish out of water.