(Last Updated on : 06/01/2009)
The English Teacher is the tale of love; the saga of ceaseless passion of loving someone so very dearly. The male protagonist at the beginning of the story is seen working as an English teacher in the same school where he was once studying. The story deals with his life, love, happiness and sadness hence the title from the very beginning justifies the storyline in a coherent mode. R.K. Narayan's lucid language and the subtle symbolisms craft "The English teacher" as an eternal saga of ceaseless love.
R. K. Narayan was a pioneer of Indo-Anglian writers. He had a unique style of writing, which he acquired by his own. He started writing from his early age and during the course he experiences many ups and downs as well. At that time writing fiction was just storytelling and he succeeded the path with flying colours. He used to tell stories of simple individuals trying to live a simple life in this changing world. In his stories a clear picture of south India was visible to abroad also. His characters always tries to blend tradition with modernization and in this path they often ends up in a tragi-comic situation. Though all his creations are written in English, still all of them have a very homely feel. Some great personalities are included in the list of his admirers and they are Somerset Maugham, John Updike and Graham Green.
The English Teacher is the third of the trilogy that began with Swami and Friends, and The Bachelor of Arts. The author R.K.Narayan dedicates this book to his wife Rajam. This is not only autobiographical but also affects and depicts its intensity of feeling. The story is a series of experiences in Krishnan's life. These includes some joyful, and also some sorrowful. This entails his journey towards achieving inner peace and self-development in a very traditional Indian style. It narrates Narayan's own happy days with his wife Rajam, who died because of typhoid just after five years of their happily married life. The hero in this story was in complete love with his wife and after her death he plunged into a period of 'darkness' and was subsequently obsessed by the thought of communicating with her. Krishnan undertakes an emotional, intellectual, and spiritual journey during the course of the novel. At the beginning of the story he works as an English teacher in the same school where he was once studying. While at the end he resigns from his post and begins work at a nursery school. His life becomes unpredictable and it happens not as a result of any grand plan or ambition, but as a result of his response to a series of challenging circumstances.
The English Teacher by R.K.Narayan is published by University of Chicago Press as USA edition whereas in UK edition William Heinemann Ltd publishes it. Vintage, Minerva and Mandarin publish the paperback editions as well.
The book, 'the English Teacher' with its distinct plot depicts the futility of the very concept, that life can always be conventional and logical and predictable. The story in its every chapter brings out the fact that the author had no pre structured plan; still the story never fails to envelope the readers with its timeless tale of love. The ironies of life and indeed the record of the realities of sustenance ideally take the story to a level where the unpredictability so very well harmonizes with predictability.