The Wrong Heaven by Rabindranath Tagore
In The Wrong Heaven by Rabindranath Tagore we have the theme of discontent, change, happiness, freedom and paralysis. Narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator the reader realises after reading the story that Tagore may be exploring the theme of change. The main protagonist, a loafer or idler, without it being his intention manages to bring a change to the other people’s lives who are in heaven of the workaholics. While everybody in heaven spends their time working within time things change dramatically. So dramatically in fact that the main protagonist is sent back to earth. It might also be important that the main protagonist is different to everyone else. He is not only artistic but he does not necessarily put a meaning to what he does. This is contrary to everybody else who is in heaven. Who the reader is left assuming just keeps working as though there is a destination to be reached. Which never is. This might be important as there is a sense that those who are in heaven are discontent or unhappy. There is no balance in their life. Which may be the point that Tagore is attempting to make. He may be suggesting that an individual in order to be happy. Needs to have some type of balance in their life.
It is also noticeable that the main protagonist feels out of place in heaven of the workaholics. It is only when he is allowed to be creative that he begins to find happiness. Which ironically gets the main protagonist thrown out of heaven. If anything Tagore may be highlighting that there is a place in heaven for everybody. There just happens to be different types of heaven with each individual based on their personality being sent to the appropriate heaven. It might also be a case that Tagore is placing a spotlight on the importance of creativity and how some people should they allow a little bit of creativity into their life may change or find happiness. Something that is clear to the reader by the girl’s desire to return to earth with the main protagonist. It is as though her eyes have been opened to a different world and as such she wishes to explore this new world. Something that the chairman can put no meaning to.
This too may be important as the chairman may be so rooted in his view on what is right or what is wrong that he is blinded and as such is unable to understand why the girl might wish to return to earth with the main protagonist. No longer is she a workaholic but wishes to explore different aspects of life. She wants to live as the main protagonist does. She wants to be free. Without being hindered by the difficulties that come with spending all one’s time working. Something that some critics will appreciate while others might scorn. If anything there does not appear to be any common ground in the story. Either a person works as work would be defined or is an idler like the main protagonist. However the efforts that the main protagonist makes throughout the story are in fact a type of work. Just a type that would not be seen by others as being productive. Though it is true that the main protagonist is in the wrong heaven. It is also true that so too is the girl. Such is the influence of the main protagonist on the girl.
In reality Tagore may be suggesting that everybody has a place. Just because the main protagonist is in the wrong heaven does not mean that there is not another place for him (earth). It may also be a case that Tagore is suggesting that an individual should take stock of their lives and change it should they not be happy. As the girl is doing. Something that is not easy to do because of the shackles that life imposes on the individual. It is better to have no meaning and to be happy than to have a meaning and be miserable. As many of the people in heaven of the workaholics appear to be. The fact that the girl wishes to return to earth with the main protagonist may also suggest that a person can get a second chance. A chance to live their life happier than they may have previously been. All that is required is for an individual to change their outlook on life. To re-evaluate what is important to them and what is not important. Something that those in heaven of the workaholics could learn from. They are not free as one would expect a person in heaven to be. It is as though those in heaven of the workaholics are paralysed and unable to change due to their devotion to work. They cannot see that there is another life.