TET 149-151

How does Narayan make the bond between a father and a daughter evident in the extract?

The aforementioned extract is adopted from the novel, “ The English Teacher” by the famous writer RK Narayan. The extract describes a growing bond between the father and daughter, which occurs after the demise of Susila. Their bond is made evident through Narayan’s blend of metaphors, imageries, repetitions, juxtapositions and fine diction.


The scene is started with protagonist being gently woken up as he feels the ‘cold’ hands of his daughter on his forehead. The fact that Krishna, without using his eyes is able to recognize the ‘hands’ iterates the affection he has for his daughter. Furthermore, unlike other men who would probably get irritated by such gestures, Krishna is feels enriched being woken ‘almost everyday’ by this ‘growing creature’ Moreover, the daughter’s love is captured in the auditory imagery when we see her ‘cry happily’ as she sees Krishna ‘wake!’ The use of the exclamation clearly denotes the sudden charge of excitement that runs inside Leela, which suggests how she relishes when her father to be present; both mentally and physically. The innocence and inquisitiveness of the child is highlighted when she interrogates her father on what he did when ‘he slept.’ The following showcases that the daughter wished to know his father entirely and adapt like him, as she is also seen almost ‘scrutinizing’ his face, by bring her face ‘close’ enough, ‘gazing’ at his. This not only suggests that Leela had a strong bond with her father, but also that she found every aspect of his ‘fascinating’ and wanted to inculcate his traits. Thus, with the use of fine imageries Narayan makes the point of the father-daughter bond lucidly visible.


Potent usage of metaphors also adds depth to the passage and makes the claim of Krishna’s bond with his daughter more evident. The eyes of Leela are likened to ‘ a pair of dark butterflies’ that dance with ‘independent life.’ The metaphor is extremely expressive as is carries two connotations; one which is rather obvious that suggests the black eyeballs which keep moving and sailing as it examines her fathers face, making it seem, as though they are dancing. While in the other connotation, the ‘dark’ may suggest the wretchedness that had crept over the house after the death of Susila. And the ‘butterfly’ may symbolize a burst of zeal and the joy in the despondent house that was brought by Leela whose ‘independent’ sole still was unaffected and full of ‘life.’ This suggests that Leela’s presence was integral for Krishna as it soothed him and reduced the pain he felt after the demise of his wife. At this point, the readers can notice the role of women in that era, and how both the male and female complemented each other. This fact it further explored when Leela’s presence is described ‘as if sentry had mounted guard against a formidable enemy’. This metaphor connotes that Leela, after the demise of Susila had involuntarily taken charge of her father’s protection. Even though her actions may be insignificant in protecting Krishna from any tangible disturbances other than ‘ants or flies,’ her presence was able to protect him from intangible troubles of depressions and despairs. Moreover, the usage of the personal pronoun, ‘I’ in the expression, ‘I was watching’ stresses on the responsibilities Leela had solely accepted of being a dutiful and responsible daughter that always thought well for her father ‘that is all…’


As we progress in the extract, we see the similar responsibilities being inculcated by the father, Krishna. Narayan describes this using fine dialogues and repetitions making the affectionate bond they shared seem more palpable. The readers can see how Krishna, for the first time is filling up in the absence of his wife. This is seen when he encourages Leela to ‘wash’ before she ‘reads’ books, as according to religious beliefs ‘Goddess Saraswathi’ ‘the goddess of learning’ would become upset if one touched books ‘without washing’ hands. The following is suggestive of two things. One, that Krishna, even though having western mindset had embraced Indian values, which were conveyed through his wife Susila. And, that Krishna was now playing a dual role. One as a father, and one also as a mother in the life of Leela, so that she doesn’t feel bereft of any motherly values. This also suggests that Krishna did not want any evils to make members of his blood ‘unhappy.’ He wanted to protect them from both biological diseases, by enforcing norms of cleanliness and also from ethical violations. Furthermore, his use of short sentences with simplistic language and grammar when advocating his daughter, suggests how he wanted Leela to understand his preaching easily. Also, he repeats the pronoun, “we” in his dialect. This is symbolic of togetherness. Using this technique he is able to convince his daughter better as it envisages that both Leela and Krishna are entitled to the same duties and responsibilities in life, and are together at same stage of learning. Concurrently, Krishna is seen who ‘cares for little’ else, implying that he has prioritized her daughter over the rest. He considers making Leela ‘learned’ an extremely ‘noble and exciting occupation’ and having ‘responsibilities for a growing creature’ immensely enriching. This indicates that Krishna wished to mold Leela in a flawless way, so she doesn’t have to face any difficulties in life and can live without anyone’s ‘help.’ Therefore, we can conclude that Krishna was an affectionate father who shared an affectionate bind with her daughter.

Thus, Narayan’s efficient use of metaphors, repetitions, imageries allow the relation of the father and daughter to deemed extremely affectionate.


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