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The English Teacher by R.K. Narayan

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Length: 4106 words (11.7 double-spaced pages)
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The English Teacher by R.K. Narayan


What about our own roots? Krishnan's journey in R K Narayan's The English Teacher [1]
. . . something has been drained from the adult heart.
Belief in the miraculous closes down [2]

Krishnan, the central character of R. K. Narayan's The English Teacher, undertakes an emotional, intellectual, and spiritual journey during the course of the novel. At the start of the novel he is an English teacher, living and teaching at the same school where he was once a pupil, and at the end we see him resigning his post, beginning work at a nursery school, and learning to communicate psychically with his dead wife. He learns and changes during the course of the novel in a way which he could not have predicted at the beginning. The journey takes him from a lifestyle which he found unsatisfactory to finding a set of values and a way of life that he feels he can believe in wholly.

Krishnan's change comes about not as a result of any grand plan or ambition, but as a result of his response to a series of challenging circumstances which arise once he begins to take steps away from the cloistered and protective environment of his school.      

This day-by-day, unforeseen-event by unforeseen-event progress is reflected in Narayan's approach to the novel itself. Narayan gives the impression that he has no pre-planned plot in mind when the story opens, but instead focuses on a meticulously detailed depiction of Krishnan's experiences, keeping to the...


... middle of paper ...


...d make an artistic whole. The theme of the novel is obviously the 'death' of Susila in the first half, and her 'resurrection' in the second half. Paradise Lost being followed by paradise Regained. Krishna loses Susila in the flesh, but on the last page of the novel she comes back to him, to be with him forever.

'Susila! Susila!' I cried. 'You here!' 'Yes, I'm here, have always been here.'
Is Krishna dreaming? Is it anything more than the physical projection of Krishna's psychic ecstasy? Isn't this a resurrection greater than life? 'The boundaries of our personalities suddenly dissolved' Krishna concludes his autobiographical narrative. 'It was a moment of rare, immutable joy - a moment for which one feels grateful to life and death'.

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