The English Teacher


Major Themes




There is clearly a sense in which nature is celebrated in this novel: clearly it is superior to the hell of the hostel where Krishna lived and equally the sordid, filthy street of the Headmaster’s family and it seems that being close to nature can have both a calming and reinvigorating effect. However, not all non-natural settings are bad: the houses where Krishna lives with the love of his family are painted positively so there is no clear nature / town distinction. Part of this novel is about Krishna’s journey to find harmony in peace (in a sense this seems like he wants to find a place where he belongs in life). Originally he seeks to find this ‘harmony’ through nature but by the end of the novel seems to have progressed to a belief that you find harmony through find that right place among the people that surround you and being happy with what you do: hence his decision to work with the Headmaster and young children.



Page No




There was ‘Glory awaiting them outside’ on the day of Krishna’s first morning walk. He describes a ‘New world’ and says that in the sound his feet felt ‘deep down the warmth of the previous day’s sun’




Krishna felt a ‘Glow of Joy’ after bathing and claimed that we find the ‘highest form of joy and peace’ when we ‘merge and harmonise’ with nature. The ‘magic of morning light is also described as is the phrase an ‘alchemy of inexplicable joy.’




In contrast Krishna describes his school in the following way ‘The rest of the quadrangle was more mud, scorched by the Malgudi sun’ The bathroom was ‘ a semi-dark damp place with a glass tile giving its sole lighting’ … ‘Hostel bathrooms are Hell on Earth.’




The Jasmine Home is ‘the very last house … fields of corn stretched away in front of the terrace … and beyond it all the blue outlines of the Mempi Mountains.’




The mystic’s house ‘looked like a green haven. Acres and acres of trees, shrubs and orchards.’




The mystic says ‘When an odd twig catches my eye I cut it off and make a stick. Tree twigs have a sense of humour and adopt funny shapes. I think its one of nature’s expressions of humour.




‘This casuarina [tree] and the setting sun and the river create a peace to which I have beome more and more addicted’ This is the place where the mystic can communicate with Susila.




‘The casuarina looked more enchanting than ever. Purple lotus bloomed on the pond surface. Gentle ripples splashed against the bank.’




The Headmaster’s room was ‘thatch roofed. Its floor was covered with clay and the walls were bamboo splinters filled with mud … the whole place smelt of Mother Earth’