Write a character sketch of the postmaster. Do you consider him selfish? Give reasons for your views.

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The postmaster is a refined, urbane, civilized man. He's also a trifle snobbish, looking down on the villagers of Ulapur for their relative lack of sophistication and learning. As such, he makes no effort to socialize with them, seeing them as bad company for decent folk such as himself.

Not surprisingly, then, the postmaster comes across as arrogant and stand-offish—someone you wouldn't really want to get close to. However, it would be rather unfair to describe him as selfish. He does after all establish a connection of sorts with the young orphan girl Ratan, who performs various chores for him as well as acting as a companion during the long evenings. During their conversations, the postmaster shares his thoughts concerning his family with Ratan, giving her a glimpse into his personality that few others get to see.

And it's not just information about his family life that he shares with Ratan. He also gives her food, something that a poor orphan girl would find hard to come by on her own. Not only that, but he teaches Ratan how to read, something that no one else in the village would be willing or able to do. The postmaster's lack of selfishness is also much in evidence when the time comes for him to leave Ulapur and return to Calcutta. Just before he leaves he gives Ratan almost his entire month's salary, which would be a fairly large amount for someone in this part of the world.

Nevertheless, there are limits to the postmaster's generosity, and he won't take Ratan back with him to Calcutta. When all's said and done, the cultural gap between the urbane sophisticate and the poor orphan village girl is just too great to bridge.

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