What is the summary of "Postmaster?"

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

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Tagore's short story is probably one of the most profound works in his vast arsenal of composition.  The story revolves around a postmaster who is relocated from his native urban setting of Calcutta to a remote village.  In this village exists an orphaned girl of Ratan, who is discarded and marginalized in the village.  The Postmaster finds the transition to village life a difficult one and this precludes him from fully being able to execute his responsibilities.  Ratan slowly emerges as the only source of assistance for him.  She takes care of him and helps him battle from illness while tending to him as best as he could ever hope.  At the same time, he teaches her how to read and her loyalty to him increases, becoming even more fervent. The entire while, the postmaster still yearns to go back to his urban setting.  At a certain point, he must leave and Ratan, recognizing both her need for him and perhaps his need for her, begs to take her with him back to the city, he laughs and leaves her behind.  The closing of the short story involves the Postmaster reflecting about his decision, recognizing that he might have done the wrong thing, and then seeking to rationalize it away from his consciousness.

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