Large Issues In A Short Novel

1498 words - 6 pages

Life goes on and after death. There is always hope – even in the desert there is an oasis. This is what the “The English Teacher”, which is a semi-autobiographical book, is all about. It is about life and death. It gives plenty of thought to see death not as a loss, but as a new life. It tries to teach us that human beings have the power to move on, despite all the odds and that life continues after death. R.K.Narayan talks about an English teacher who is trying to come to terms with himself. He talks about his professional life but mostly about his personal life, and also about his pain and the obstacles that he has to face, in order to find the inner peace, harmony and balance in his life.

From the beginning of the book, we are introduced to the teacher whose name is Krishna. We have this kind of man who wants to have control of everything in life and who cannot accept the unpredictability. He sets goals in his life and he is struggling to achieve them or else he will feel disappointed. Mostly of the times he achieves his aims; “I had done almost all the things I wanted to do, and as a result I felt heroic and satisfied” but later on he continues and utters “all done to perfection, I was sure, but always leaving behind a sense of something missing”. By this, we can understand that this man is sort of gathering dissatisfaction. He feels vacant, not fulfilling and he is not contented with his life and with his profession. There are times when he catches himself wondering why he gives so much importance in insignificant things such as English grammar or spelling as long as he feels that perhaps there is something better for him out there. So one day he comes to a decision that the next morning he will alter his routine. He sets the alarm clock at five o’clock in the morning “to be up very early next day, go out along the river on a long walk, run a few yards, bathe in the river and regulate [his] life”. This alarm clock denotes the running of time, it symbolizes how he wants to control even time but also his dependence on things and on people; “I picked up the clock and sat on my bed looking at it. I believe I almost addressed it: much depends upon you”. He depends on things for his own cheerfulness and changement of life. But when his wife will sell the clock later on, he will be obliged to learn to adjust to certain situations and he will become conscious that he cannot control life. Even when he decides to get rid of his own habits and to have a new start in his life, he is not free. He needs continuously to have power over himself, his thoughts, and his actions. At the end of the day he tries to force himself to believe that indeed there was a big change in his living; “don’t you see this is entirely different? I am different today”. Even if he tries not to demonstrate it, he is anxious that he will not wake up early the next day for his walk, and he will come back to his old way of life. But he feels trapped in his job and...

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