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Set in the fictional town of Malgudi, The English Teacher by Indian novelist R K Narayan is a highly autobiographical novel about Krishnas (the protagonist) blissful short lived married life and his search for happiness

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Introduction

Set in the fictional town of Malgudi, "The English Teacher" by Indian novelist R K Narayan is a highly autobiographical novel bout Krishna's (the protagonist) blissful short lived married life and his search for happiness and harmony. Interwoven with this search for happiness and harmony is the theme of Indian mysticism and spiritualism. The plot of the novel is complex. It is divided into two parts. The first part deals with Krishna's idyllic and ecstatic married life. The second part deals with Susila's death, Krishna's up rootedness at her death, the mystic communion he has with the spirit of his wife, the headmaster's miserable married life and the ultimate blessedness. The novel begins with disappointment as the protagonist; an English Teacher at Albert Mission College is basically a dissatisfied man, an unhappy man. He suffers from a "sense of something missing". ...read more.

Middle

The death of Susila left Krishna absolutely up rooted, lonely and grief-stricken. Life was meaningless to him now. He would have rather committed suicide than live without her. When the dead body of Susila is laid on the ground, the atmosphere of the house is desperately gloomy - "We mutter, talk among ourselves and wail between convolutions of grief. Nothing exists now for Krishna except for her memories, "I feel nothing and see nothing". In another scene when the fellowmen return from the burial ground, "There are no surprises and shocks in life...For me the greatest reality is this and nothing else...Nothing else will worry or interest me in life here after..." This point is the anti-climax of disappointment and sympathy in the novel. In Chapter 7, the little peace and joy Krishna seemed to grasp through the spiritual communion with his wife was also lost, "it was s if a person lost in an abyss found a ladder and the ladder tumbled". ...read more.

Conclusion

Although this novel consists many scenes which display disappointment and sympathy, there were many happy and joyous moments too. At the beginning of the novel, the morning walk and the bathe in the river gave Krishna "a new lease of life". The ecstatic time Krishna spends with Susila and Leela at their new house. Even after Susila's death, the spiritual communion between them brought Krishna immense joy and happiness at a time when he was absolutely and lonely. The novel ends as Krishna's quest for happiness becomes successful when he re-unites with his dear wife once and for all. There is a great deal of humour blended in with the suffering in the novel "English Teacher". Therefore, it is fair to say that this story is disappointing but it is also full of contentment. In the end, this novel presents a modern Indian world filled with distractions and worries; however, it was a good and truly enjoyable novel. ...read more.

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