The English Teacher

by R. K. Narayan

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Describe the character of Krishna in "The English Teacher".

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Krishna, the protagonist of "The English Teacher," is an English teacher who loves literature but despises his job. He represents Narayan's critique of colonial culture in India. After his wife's death, Krishna grieves and eventually communicates with her spirit. His dissatisfaction with his career and spiritual growth culminate in his departure from the school to teach at a mystic's school, symbolizing personal and spiritual development.

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The English Teacher is a novel written by Indian author R.K. Narayan. The book was published in 1945. The main character of the novel is Krishna, an English teacher who, along with his daughter, loves English literature but hates his job.

Through the character of Krishna, the author comments on colonial culture and dynamics in India, which is a topic that is prevalent in many of Narayan's works. The novel is also semiautobiographical. In the novel—similar to the actual events that happened to Narayan—Krishna's wife dies, and he is left to raise a young daughter by himself. In this sense, Narayan was able to grieve and express his loss through the character of Krishna.

Krishna ends up communicating with his dead wife through a psychic medium and then eventually directly. The longer he remains an English teacher at his current school, the more he begins to hate it. These two conflicts in Krishna's life—death of his wife and dissatisfaction with his career—can be viewed as two different subplots in the novel, but they are intertwined.

In the end, Krishna learns to accept his wife's death, and he finally leaves his job in order to teach at a school founded by a mystic. These two resolutions symbolize Krishna's development as a person and his growth spiritually.

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