What is the tone of Tagore's short story, "The Postmaster?"

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

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In order to find the tone of the short story, I would pull from one of Tagore’s poems.  Tagore’s poem, “Passing Time in the Rain,” features a moment where I think some insight into his tone of “The Postmaster” is relevant:

Small lives, humble distress/ Tales of humdrum grief and pain/Simple, clear straightforwardness;/ of the thousands of tears streaming daily/A few saved from oblivion;/No elaborate description,/Plain steady narration...

This might help to bring out the tone of the story.  The tone, or the attitude of the author, created is one where Tagore assumes the third person, but does not shy away from bringing out Ratan’s emotional pain.  For Tagore, what Ratan experiences is similar to idea of “small lives, humble distress.”  The tone created in the story is one where the tale of an orphan is painful, but a part of the natural condition that is expressed in the world.  Tagore’s tone does not steer past one of “humdrum grief.”  There is little “elaborate description,” for even the ending is one where the experience of Ratan is dwarfed by a condition where “snares of delusion” impact human consciousness.  Finally, with the “plain steady narration,” Tagore’s tone brings light to Ratan’s predicament, but only does so as an internal light is shone within our own state of being in sensing whether we are more like the postmaster, who breaks her heart, or Ratan, who must endure the broken heart.

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