The English Teacher’s main purpose is to demonstrate Krishna’s opposition to British Colonialism
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The English Teacher’s main purpose is to portray Krishna’s journey to inner peace

By James and Rob J

In the opening pages of The English Teacher, it is clear that the effects of British colonization are addressed as one of the novel’s main issues. A key example of this would be the headmaster’s outrage at the misspelling of “Honours” whilst he himself cannot speak much of the Indian language, exemplified by Krishna. However, as the story develops, this theme of Krishna’s anti-colonialism views seems to die down and can only be picked up by very subtle comments made by Krishna. Replacing this represented issue is Krishna’s quest to find inner peace after the passing of his wife. It is as if before her death he was objective towards British colonialist but now, after she dies, “nothing in this life will worry or interest me hereafter” a quote illustrated by Krishna representing how he ceases to care for his previous troubles.
His wife’s death almost acts as a major turning point in the story and we believe that the novel is primarily concerned about the development of Krishna’s character because of an assortment of events which occur in the story, and Krishna’s respective response to these particular situations. Essentially, it explores the development of Krishna’s personality as he strives to achieve inner peace.
‘I was on the whole pleased with my day, not many conflicts and worries, above all not too much self criticism.’ ‘I should cease to live like a cow.’ ‘Eating, working, speaking, walking, talking, all done to perfection, I was sure, but always leaving behind a sense of something missing.’ Finally Krishna claims ‘I am a poet, and I was constantly nagged by the feeling that I was doing the wrong work.’ – Chapter 1
This quote in chapter 1 shows his low sense of self-worth and purpose at the beginning of the story. It also represents how he is confused in his life and needs guidance in order for him to find his inner peace and sanctuary.
‘Even sad and harrowing memories were cherished by me, for in contemplation of these sad scenes and hapless hours, I seemed to acquire a new peace, a new outlook, a view of life with a place for everything.’ – Chapter 4
This quote from chapter 4 marks a turning point in Krishna’s life and shows how his wife’s death changes his outlook on life as a person and how it already begins to help him on his quest for inner peace.
He honestly says ‘I am retiring not with a feeling of sacrifice for a national cause, but with a very selfish purpose. I’m seeking a great inner peace’ and so he withdraws ‘into the world of children’ – Chapter 8
This quote shows Krishna present his reasons to those about his motifs for becoming a retiree and shows how close Krishna is to finding inner peace. It also shows that to find inner peace one must not necessarily be a selfless person, but only possess the desire to change his or herself for the better.
It was a moment of rare immutable joy” – Chapter 8
Finally this quote, on the final page of the book, represents Krishna’s triumph and how his quest is over to find inner peace and shares his accomplishment with his wife. It represents the final stage in his story and journey towards enlightenment.
The English Teacher is set in a society where religion, particularly Hinduism is thought very highly of by its followers and this provides a central them for the book to relate itself to. Hinduism recognizes four main stages of life which are called Ashramas. It is said that in order complete a life of fulfillment and satisfaction, one must undergo through the experience of each stage. We believe that each of the quotes we have chosen, in the order they are, represent each of the stages of life and therefore prove Krishna’s finding of inner peace and it being the central role of the story.
The stages are as follows:
1. Brahmachari Ashrama: the student (12 – 24 years)
Krishna (although a teacher) in the universes eyes remains a student. Lives at the college, lives the life of a bachelor.
2. Grihasta Ashrama: the householder (24 – 48 years)
Krishna buys a house for his family and therefore begins to take responsibility for those around him and starts to care for those he holds dearest.
3. Vanaprasta Ashrama: the retired person (48 – 72 years)
Krishna quits his job to as an expression of self guidance to attain happiness and therefore becomes a retiree. Also he states that he will not need the amount of money he earns as he is so close to finding inner peace.
4. Sannyasi Ashrama: the renouncement (72+ years)
Finally, Krishna finds inner peace but to do this he must abolish all aspects of his life, including his daughter who goes to live with his mother, much like the headmaster did. It is only through this that he manages to attain inner peace.

To conclude, we believe that there is insurmountable evidence proving the main purpose of the story to be about Krishna’s quest for enlightenment and how he achieves this. In addition, only a small portion of the book focuses on British colonialism as one of the main themes. It should also be states that the last line, and page for that matter, focus solely on Krishna’s triumph and show no link to his opposition to British colonialism whatsoever. These are considered to be the most important parts of a book and therefore this shows that Krishna’s inner peace is without a doubt the key theme, issue and motif explored in the story that is The English Teacher.