In the English Teacher, the Headmaster, though sharing some similar traits as Krishna, largely acts as a foil to further enhance the differences between them.
In this extract, a jarring difference between Krishna and the Headmaster would be their perception towards family and their role as both father and husband. While the Headmaster spends his time in school, dreads his own home (“I’ld prefer to wait at school than at home.”) and deems his family unfit to share his last moments with him as they “did not deserve it”, Krishna on the contrary, devotes every opportunity he has to his family and home, promptly leaving college when the bell rings.Krishna’s devotion to see his wife through her suffering when illness befell her and his fall into a pit of devastation after Susila’s death is evident of his immense love for his wife. Nevertheless, he held on to his responsibilities as a father to Leela and saw to all her needs. The Headmaster however, rejoices at the suffering of his wife and her cries and “lamentations” having heard of his death, is received as a “happy piece of information” for him. This clash of perception was obvious when Krishna, with his strong sense of responsibility as a father and husband, “implored [the headmaster] to go [home] and relieve his wife” yet was met with the Headmaster’s indifference and stubborn headedness. His adamant stance reflected on a degree of hatred which the Headmaster probably felt towards his wife and a sense of contentment in watching her suffer as a form of just deserts for her earlier treatment of him. This stark contrast also serves to bring out the importance of family and the roles they play to these two individuals.
This difference in perception also explains why, the Headmaster in this extract, is quick to make the best of the opportunity to shed his identity as a father and husband. Though a sense of basic responsibility, or probably pity, sees him maintaining a financial responsibility to his family...
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