R. K. Narayan () witnessed nearly a century of change in his native The title character in The English Teacher, Narayan's most autobiographical. Abstract: aracer.mobin, one of the most distinguished Indian novelists writing in English, brings out autobiographical element in his novel, 'The English Teacher'. CHAPTER III. THE ENGLISH TEACHER. R.K. Narayan deals with love as a harmoniser and also in an idealised state in The English Teacher in contrast to the.
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Category: R.K. Narayan; Title: The English Teacher. Complete summary of R. K. Narayan's The English Teacher. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant. RK Narayan's The English Teacher came sometime after The Dark Room as the author had a tough time dealing with the death of his wife Rajam. Read "The English Teacher" by R. K. Narayan available from Rakuten Kobo. Sign up today and get $5 off your first download. R. K. Narayan (—).
I was going to explain why I could no longer stuff Shakespeare and Elizabethan metre and romantic poetry for the hundredth time into young minds and feed them on the dead mutton of literary analysis and theories and histories This education had reduced us to a nation of morons: we were strangers to our own culture feeding on leavings and garbage.
Peace is sought through renunciation and through the repudiation of western values and attitudes; it is significant that Brown, the English principal of the college. A further significant aspect of The English Teacher is the way in which Krishna makes contact with the dead wife through seances with a medium.
The western reader is inclined to regard such activities as pre-posterous, but the joyful intimacy which Krishna comes to enjoy with his dead wife is one of the liberating forces at work upon his consciousness. Like most of his countrymen he too promotion of British culture which will effectively help to keep the country in subjugation and servility.
This English education bred a class of youngsters revering the British culture, disregarding their own heritage and in some cases even showing contempt towards their own. However, Krishna is not ignorant of the aesthetic value of English literature and is not opposed to teaching it as a matter of pride or principle. His opposition to English education is a well-informed decision.
As Krishna later says to Mr. Krishna also knows that Mr. Brown will not be able to grasp the idea of self-development, inner peace and service in the Indian sense despite having been in India for three decades.
Through Krishna, Narayan questions the idea of correct and pure English. Krishna reacts by saying: Let us be fair. Ask Mr. He has spent thirty years in India. It is all irrelevant, said Gaj apathy. Why should he think the responsibility for leaving is all on our side and none on his? Why does he magnify his own importance? He realized education and his choice of career have actually removed him from his roots and culture - and ultimately from reality.
He realizes the futility of an education such as this that serves to effectively keep them in subjugation not only physically, but also in their approach to life and mind-set, being discontent with their lot and hankering after another culture which will not sustain them.
English education came to be criticized for its imitativeness and superficiality and for having produced uprooted elite who were at once apostates to their own national tradition and imperfect imitators of the West. Time and again, this portrait of the relentless rules of discourse emerges: I spent the rest of the period giving a general analysis of the mistakes I had encountered in this batch of composition rather very, as such, for hence, spilt www.
An idiomatic theme, I felt this abstract and confounded metaphysics, but I could not help it. I had been ordered to set this subject to this class. We learn that the colonial agent in question is the British principal, Mr. In private Krishna responds to this sarcastically. What, then, keeps Krishna in a profession, which affords so little satisfaction? Here, one might invoke the complementary play of English discourse as excitement.
Specifically, the articulation of an emphatic position on the ideological practices of colonialism and nationalism is pre-empted by the ability of the British literary tradition to excite Krishna. When, at the end of the novel, Krishna resolves to resign from his job, he plays with the idea of stating anti- colonial motives in his resignation letter. Significantly, however, he cannot actually mobilize those anti-colonial statements in his letter of resignation because they are like a rabid attack on all English writers, which was hardly the purpose.
Indeed, the appeal of the British literary canon is articulated throughout the text, and everywhere its function is to forestall a radical political critique.
The liberal humanist assumptions at work here are clear: one sees the characteristic celebration of the human imagination, which is seen to function autonomously and independently of the public and political domains. Yet these very assumptions release immense complications when they are received as supposedly self-evident truths by Krishna.
For, recast in colonial India, the aesthetics of liberal humanism cannot be diverted of their political weight. Such a solidified material project would not have been possible in the nineteenth-century India, where more fluid, contradictory or correspondingly, more resistant readings of English discourse were occurring.
For example, when Susila is ill she is treated both by a doctor who practices Western scientific medicine, and by a Swamiji who uses mystical methods of healing. She admonished me: you should never step into an unknown house in this manner. You can never be sure. How do you know what happened to the previous tenants or why they left? The English Teacher33 And in yet another instance it is notable that Krishna feels ashamed that the doctor finds the Swamiji in the house, showing that he is alienated from, and embarrassed by, the native culture of the older generation of his own country.
I felt ashamed and wished I could spirit away this mystic. The doctor came in, and saw him and smiled to himself. The mystic sat without noticing him, though looking at him. When we understand it fully I am sure we doctors will be able to give more complete curses.
He said this with a wink at me. The English Teacher 85 In the event, both the scientific and the mystical attempts at healing fail, and Susila dies. Narayan presents us with the coexistence of these two systems of thought in Indian culture, but does not make an issue of being for one and against another because, in the matters of life and death that he wants to focus on here, the distinction between Western and Eastern thought becomes insignificant.
Other instances of the juxtaposition of English and native cultures can be seen in the novel. For example, it may be significant to point out the street where the headmaster lives, with its poor sanitation, and the place where the wild- looking children rolled about in the dust: the street is named Anderson Street. The name itself brings many aspects to think about: www. I asked, looking at the impressive nameplate nailed on to the wall of a house.
At least to honour the name I hope they do something for this place I have often tried to find out who Anderson was. But nobody seems to know.
The English Teacher But while this observation is potent, it is the observation he wishes to make on the educational system towards the end of the novel, which represents the main focus of his attack. Becoming a Yogi! This self-development consists of Zen-like meditation in which, for a certain amount of time each day, he empties his mind. His main motive for undertaking this development is to have closer psychic communication with his wife, but he also experiences a general improvement in his state of mind as a result.
The representation of English education, especially English literary education, demonstrates how far it is divorced from the everyday life of the Indian students.
The English Teacher, Assistant professor Mr. Gajapathy, is presented as one who has unquestiongly accepted the canonical greats of English literature, but refuses to be intimated by big names in literary criticism: Though Do wen had said so-and-so Mr.
Gajapathi was not one to be browbeaten by a big name. The prestige attached to English in tertiary education is also reflected in Mr. His views are as follows: We have fostered the language for over a century, and we are entitled to bring it in line with our own thought and idiom. Americans have adapted the English language to suit their native mood and speech without feeling apologetic, and have achieved directness and unambiguity in expression. In The English Tea chert 1 published just before Independence, the English head teacher one of the very few non-Indian characters in his fiction is keen to preserve the purity of the language, much to the anger of the protagonist Krishna, who abandons his teaching career, and repudiates the education.
Nevertheless the English language itself he later imagines arguing: I will stay here; whatever may be the rank and status you may assign me - as the first language or the second language or the thousandth. You may banish me from the classrooms, but I can always find other places where I can stay I am more Indian than you can ever be.
Hence he has remained committed to writing his novels in Standard English if with a local habitation and a name. That name is Malgudi. The important aspects such as A dour indictment of the English system of education.
Co-existence of East and West, The preference of Eastern aesthetic way of life.
Narayan, R. The English Teacher. Mysore: Indian Thought Publications, Ashcroft, Bill, et al. London: Routledge, Azim, Firdous. The Colonial Rise of the Novel. Barry, Peter. Events take an unexpected turn when he is able to 'communicate' with his dead wife through a medium.
This brings him solace and he lives to 'communicate' with her during the weekly 'sittings' as he calls them. It is unknown why Narayan included an episode such as this, full of the fantastic, to an otherwise 'believable' story.
However it is a known fact that he was obsessed by the thought of communicating with his own wife, in his misery. This puzzles the reader, especially the Western reader, who is brought up with a solid disbelief of anything from the nether world. Though to the Indian reader, and most importantly to Narayan, who actually experienced this tragedy and wrote after it, the communication between his dead wife and himself was nothing out of the ordinary, but a means of achieving solace and reconciling life and death as we see at the end of the novel.
From a man dependent on his wife and daughter for happiness, and later the medium he becomes self- reliant and realizes that happiness- or in his case peace of mind and equanimity comes from within. He strives to achieve this sense of peace, very unlike the effervescent one he experienced with his wife and daughter, through meditation and 'withdrawing from adult world and adult work into the world of children. He truly transcends life and death when he is finally able to communicate with Susila his wife, and now his mentor.
Narayan explains it thus: "The boundaries of our personalities suddenly dissolved. It was a moment of rare, immutable joy - a moment for which one feels grateful for Life and Death. He has finally reached that stage of self-reliance, where he is able to be whole by himself, to find happiness within, where he believes his dearest wife, his companion in life, is with him always.
Krishnan repeatedly finds himself being drawn out of situations which ought to have been predictable and ordered by events which are spontaneous and unpredictable, and it is clear that he finds spontaneity and unpredictability to be stimulating and life- enhancing, while predictability and order, although providing a cushion of comfort and security, is ultimately stifling and deadening Susila, his wife, brings unpredictability into his life at every turn.
For example when they go to look at a house she wants to make a long diversion to walk by the river and bathe her feet, where the rational orderly Krishnan would have naturally taken the most direct route, and it is clear that he finds her unpredictable behaviour a source of delight and inspiration.
The turning point of the story arises from Susila's unpredictability. When they go to look at the house we could not possibly predict that she would go for a walk on her own, get stuck in a contaminated lavatory, and then become ill. The futility of clinging to the belief that life can be orderly, predictable, and knowable is shown in two central, and symmetrical, predictions which occupy a prominent place in the novel. No complications.
A perfect typhoid run' Susila dies. The other prominent demonstration of the futility of believing that life can be knowable and predictable is seen in the headmaster's belief in a prediction made by an astrologer, 'who can see past present and future as one, and give everything its true value' that he will die on a given date.
But although just as the doctor had asserted that Susila's typhoid was 'A perfect typhoid run' the headmaster has found that his 'life has gone precisely as he predicted', the headmaster lives. The truth is that we cannot know, and cannot predict, and any view of life, whether deriving from modern western science, or ancient eastern mysticism, which disregards the unknowable and sees only what is supposedly known, and supposedly predictable, is hopelessly inadequate.
From the academic world to the 'law of life' While these episodes fail to provide Krishnan with anything rational to believe in, they do bring him face to face with the reality of life and death, and confronting the realities of life without retreating into the safe cerebral world of literature and philosophy is an important component of his journey.
In coming to terms with the death of his wife literature, philosophy, and rationalism, are no use to him. They are all illusions, and the journey he is on involves leaving illusions behind. The truth Krishnan wants to discover cannot be found in Shakespeare, Carlyle, or Plato, it is found only among real people leading real lives, it is 'the law of life'.
From adulthood to childhood Children are very much in evidence throughout 'The English Teacher', and are important guides for Krishnan on his journey. The children who help to show him the way are the younger children, his own daughter, Leela, and the children at the nursery school she attends. The most prominent character in the novel, after Krishnan and his family, is the headmaster of Leela's school. Another component of Krishnan's journey is that he encounters the coexistence of western and native cultural attitudes, which also represent the attitudes of Indians of a newer and older generation.
For example when Susila is ill she is treated both by a doctor who practises western scientific medicine, and by a Swamiji who uses mystical methods of healing.
Becoming a yogi! Narayan tells a story of an English-teaching college professor, namely Krishna who leads a mundane, routine hostel life, even though he had recently been married and has a kid. The story pulls off by when his immediate family at Malgudi advise him to settle down in a rented home with his wife Susila and his girl infant Leela.
Though initially, the new state of affairs does scare him, with time, his love for his wife and kid deepens and like any other small closely-knit family, the three of them become inseparable. Depressed, saddened, Krishna becomes a person with a soul gone astray; a hardened receptacle of condolence and sympathy, when one day he receives a letter. What follows is a series of unbelievable supernatural accounts, which will have you hooked till the climax.
What is in that letter? Is Susila still alive? Does Krishna become successful as a single parent? For all these answers, you have to read the book. You might get a taste of what happens next in my review further, but I have tried to keep the suspense part in wraps. However much description the stray characters may demand, they still remain relegated to the background, with Krishna, Susila and Leela hogging all the limelight as the principal characters here.
The style of narrative is life-like and light in the first pages, and becomes heady and over bearing in the second. The story pulls off neatly with Krishna adjusting himself to the daily chores. With sly bits of humour and an ample doze of domesticity being thrown in, the first few pages are a delight.
The way the encounters have been written, completely leaves the reader numb. Suddenly the pencil began to move.
Letters appeared on paper. The pencil quivered, as if with life. It moved at a terrific speed across the paper. It scratched the paper and tore the lines up into shreds and came through.