- Term Papers and Free Essays

The Clash Of Cultures And Races In "A Passage To India"

Essay by   •  March 18, 2011  •  2,810 Words (12 Pages)  •  6,341 Views

Essay Preview: The Clash Of Cultures And Races In "A Passage To India"

Report this essay
Page 1 of 12

The clash of cultures and races in "A Passage to India"

A Passage to India, published in 1924, was E. M. Forster's first novel in fourteen years, and the last novel he wrote. Forster began writing A Passage to India in 1913, just after his first visit to India. The novel was not revised and completed, until the end of his second stay in India, in 1921, when he served as secretary to the Maharajah of Dewas State Senior.

Novel examines the racial misunderstandings and cultural hypocrisies that characterized the complex interactions between Indians and the English toward the end of the British occupation of India. It is also about the necessity of friendship, and about the difficulty of establishing friendship across cultural boundaries. On a more symbolic level, the novel also addresses questions of faith, in a social and religious conventions.

The story begins when Two englishwomen, the young Miss Adela Quested and the elderly Mrs. Moore, travel to India. Adela expects to become engaged to Mrs. Moore’s son, Ronny, a British magistrate in the Indian city of Chandrapore. Adela and Mrs. Moore each hope to see the real India during their visit, rather than cultural institutions imported by the British.

At the same time, Aziz, a young Muslim doctor in India, is increasingly frustrated by the poor treatment he receives at the hands of the English.

In the opening scene, Dr. Aziz is involved in a discussion about whether or not it is possible for an Indian to be friends with an Englishman. The conversation is interrupted by a message from the Civil Surgeon, Major Callendar, who requests Dr. Aziz's immediate assistance.

When he arrived at place he was told that the Civil Surgeon is out. On his way back home, Aziz stops in a mosque to rest and meets Mrs. Moore. He is delighted by her kind behavior and accompanies her back to the Chandrapore Club. Aziz is moved and surprised that an English person would treat him like a friend.

The Collector, Mr. Turton, makes plans to throw a Bridge Party вЂ" a party to bridge the gulf between East and West. But the event is not a great success and Adela thinks her countrymen mad for inviting guests and then not receiving them amiably. At the event, Adela meets Cyril Fielding, the principal of the government college in Chandrapore. Fielding, impressed with Adela’s open friendliness to the Indians, invites her and Mrs. Moore to tea with him and the Hindu professor Godbole. At Adela’s request, Fielding invites Aziz to tea as well. At the tea, Aziz and Fielding immediately become friendly, and the afternoon is pleasant until Ronny Heaslop arrives and interrupts the party. Later that evening, Adela tells Ronny that she has decided not to marry him. But that night, the two are in a car accident together, and the excitement of the event causes Adela to change her mind about the marriage.

Not long afterward, Dr. Aziz invites Adela and Mrs. Moore to visit the nearby Marabar Caves. An elephant transports the party into the hills and a picnic breakfast awaits Aziz's guests when they reach their goal near the caves. However, things begin to change when they visit the first cave. Mrs. Moore nearly faints when she feels herself crammed in the dark and loses sight of Adela and Dr. Aziz. She feels something strike her face and hears a terrifying echo. The echo lingers in Mrs. Moore's mind and begins "in some indescribable way to undermine her hold on life." She suddenly realizes that she no longer wants to communicate with her children, Aziz, God, or anyone else and sinks into a state of apathy and cynicism.

Meanwhile, Aziz and Adela are en route to visit more of the caves. Adela, suddenly realizing that she does not love Ronny, asks Aziz whether he has more than one wifeвЂ"a question he considers offensive. Aziz storms off into a cave, and when he returns, Adela is gone.

Thinking that she has merely gone off to meet Ronny, Aziz returns to the camp and learns that Adela has unexpectedly driven away. The remaining members of the expedition take the train back to Chandrapore. Upon their return, Dr. Aziz is arrested and charged with making insulting advances to Miss Quested in the Marabar Caves.

Fielding, believing Aziz to be innocent, angers all of British India by joining the Indians in Aziz’s defense. In the weeks before the trial, the racial tensions between the Indians and the English flare up considerably. Adela remains ill for several days, hovering "between common sense and hysteria" and, like Mrs. Moore, is plagued by the sound of the echo. She begins to have doubts about what happened in the cave and eventually tells Ronny that she may have made a mistake. Mrs. Moore supports Adela's belief that Aziz is innocent but Ronny insists that the trial must proceed and sends his mother back to England. Mrs. Moore dies on the voyage back to England, but not before she realizes that there is no “real India”вЂ"but rather a complex multitude of different Indias. Adela finally tells the court that she has made a mistake and that Dr. Aziz never followed her into the cave. The Superintendent withdraws the charges and Aziz is released "without one stain on his character."

Fielding begins to respect Adela, recognizing her bravery in standing against her peers to pronounce Aziz innocent. Ronny breaks off his engagement to Adela, and she returns to England.

Aziz, however, is angry that Fielding would befriend Adela after she nearly ruined Aziz’s life, and as a consequence the friendship between the two men suffers. Then Fielding sails to England. Aziz declares that he is done with the English and that he intends to move to a place

where he will not have to encounter them.

Two years later, Aziz has become the chief doctor to the Rajah of Mau, a Hindu region several hundred miles from Chandrapore. He has heard that Fielding married Adela shortly after returning to England. Aziz now virulently hates all English people.

Dr. Aziz has learned that Fielding, along with his wife and brother-in-law, will soon be stopping in Mau on business. Fielding had sent his old friend a letter explaining all the details about his wedding to Stella Moore, but Aziz never read it. As a result, he still thinks that Fielding has married Adela. All misunderstandings are finally cleared up when they meet, but Aziz does not care who Fielding has married. His heart is now with his own people and he wishes no Englishman or Englishwoman to be his friend.

Later that day, Fielding and his wife borrow a boat in order to watch the religious



Download as:   txt (16.6 Kb)   pdf (173.2 Kb)   docx (15.6 Kb)  
Continue for 11 more pages »
Only available on