"The English Teacher" By Rk Narayan: How Far Would You Agree With The Statement: "Dr. Shankar Is To Be Blamed For Susila's Death"?

871 words - 3 pages

In the timeless classic penned by R. K Narayan "The English Teacher", it is entirely reasonable and sound to regard Susila's death as a pivotal turning point in the novel. Susila's passing on to the netherworld marks a radical change in Krishna's life, and therefore it is valid to term the incident as one which is of "massive consequence and magnitude". What is more befuddling and intriguing is the question of who actually caused her ultimate demise. A number of theories and characters come to mind when the question is posted. I, for one, hold Dr. Shankar responsible for Susila's death. His demeanor, attitude and work ethics throughout her ordeal did not justify his supposed status as 'the most successful practitioner in town [Malgudi]", let alone "the greatest physician on earth".For starters, Dr. Shankar is way too sloppy in the way he works. When Krishna, the protagonist, first sought help from the physician, Dr. Shankar merely "asked a few questions, wrote down a prescription and put it away". He confidently declared that "it is just malaria" and he has "fifty cases like this on hand, no need to see Susila". This type of hit-and-miss and inaccurate assumption of a patient's illness has to be the cardinal sin in the world of practitioners. He is far too confident and casual in his diagnosis that he is able to tell to tell what illness a patient is suffering from without even being present in front of the in front of the patient. Dr. Shankar is the perfect example of what all doctors in the world should not do. His quick dismissal of Krishna's request for him to see Susila proves just how irresponsible a doctor he is. Dr. Shankar is not meticulous enough, and in his official capacity as a doctor, he is best described as "an automaton dispensing medicine and healthcare". If only Dr. Shankar had been more elaborate in his proceedings, the outcome might not have proved to be so tragic.Another key factor in Dr. Shankar's contribution to Susila's demise is his cocksure and overly-optimistic attitude. It can also be said that it is this type of mentality that led to his being sloppy in his diagnosis. Perhaps he was so sure of himself that he sees no need to see the patient in person. There are a number of instances in the novel which showcases Dr. Shankar's foolhardy ways. One classic example is his reply to Krishna's plea for him to pay Susila a visit. His presumptuousness shone through as he snapped "Oh, no, it is just malaria. I have fifty cases like this on...

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