Presentation on theme: "Biography of E.M. Forster Edward Morgan Forster was born the first day of 1879 in London. His father, an architect from a strict evangelical family, died."— Presentation transcript:
Biography of E.M. Forster Edward Morgan Forster was born the first day of 1879 in London. His father, an architect from a strict evangelical family, died of consumption soon after Forster was born, and thus Forster was raised by his mother and paternal great-aunt. Forster was raised at Rooksnest, the house that inspired him with Howards End. Forster was educated as a dayboy at the Tonbridge School, Kent, an experience responsible for a good deal of his later criticism on the English public school system. Forster attended college at King's College, Cambridge, which greatly broadened his intellectual interests and gave him his first exposure to Mediterranean culture, which counterbalanced the more rigid English culture in which he was raised.
Forster became a writer shortly after graduating from King's College. His first novels were products of that particular time, stories about the changing social conditions at the decline of Victorianism. However, where these earlier works differed from Forster's contemporaries is their more colloquial style. These novels established an early conviction of Forster that men and women should keep in contact with the land to cultivate their imaginations. He developed this theme in his first novels, Where Angels Fear to Tread (1905) and The Longest Journey (1907), followed these with A Room With a View (1908). Forster's first major success, however, was Howards End (1910), a novel dealing with the alliance between the liberal Schlegel sisters and Ruth Wilcox against her husband, Henry Wilcox, an enterprising businessman. During this time, Forster was part of the Bloomsbury Group, a set of unconventional bohemian thinkers in England that included Virginia Woolf, John Maynard Keynes, Dora Carrington and Lytton Strachey.
Forster spent three wartime years in Alexandria doing civilian work and visited India twice. After he returned to England, he wrote A Passage to India (1924), inspired by his experience in India. The novel concerns the colonial occupation of India by the British, but cedes its position as a political tract to explore the friendship between an Indian doctor and British schoolmaster during the former's trial on a false charge. This novel was the last that Forster published during his lifetime, but two other works remain. Forster did not complete another novel, Arctic Summer, while a second novel written around 1914, Maurice, was published in 1971 only after Forster's death. Forster only allowed it to be published after his death because of its overt homosexual theme. Although Forster published no novels after A Passage to India, he continued to write short stories and essays until his death in 1970. He published several anthologies, including The Celestial Omnibus (1914) and The Eternal Moment (1928), two collections of short stories, Abinger Harvest (1936), a collection of poetry, essays and fiction, and several non-fiction works. Forster also wrote the libretto to the Benjamin Britten opera "Billy Budd." The essays by Forster established his reputation as a liberal thinker and strong advocate of democracy. Forster was awarded membership in the Order of Companions of Honor in 1953 and received the Order of Merit from Queen Elizabeth in 1969. He died in June of 1970 after a series of strokes.
Characters Dr. Aziz: An intelligent and emotional Indian Muslim doctor living in Chandrapore at the beginning of the novel; he is a widower with three children, who loved his wife so much that he has refused to agree with his mother's suggestions that he should remarry. Although he is generous and loving toward his English friends, including Mrs. Moore and Cyril Fielding, after Adela Quested accuses him falsely of attempted rape during their expedition to the Marabar Caves he becomes bitter, vindictive and notoriously anti-British; however, the charges are dropped after Adela's testimony at the trial.
Aziz, educated at Cambridge, begins as a gentleman accepting the English rulers and tries to live according to their dictates. Although somewhat innocent, he is learned, fair-minded, generous, and ignorant of subtle British customs. A primary concern of A Passage to India is the shift in Dr. Aziz's views of the British from accommodating and even a bit submissive to an aggressively anti-colonial stance.
Miss Adela Quested - A young girl who comes to India with Mrs. Moore, to decide whether or not to marry Mrs. Moore's son Ronny Heaslop; however, she changes her mind several times and eventually realizes that she does not love him and cannot marry him. An intelligent, inquisitive, but somewhat innocent girl, Adela begins with a desire to see the real India, but later falsely accuses Dr. Aziz of attempting to rape her in the Marabar Caves. She is a woman of conflicting character traits; although an intellectual, she is short-sighted.
Adela, like her future mother-in-law, is a sensitive person who does not especially like the behavior of the British in India. As a thinking woman, she is interested in learning about India and rather ambivalent about her engagement. Well-meaning, she falls victim to her own imagination. She suffers from hallucinations that are symptomatic of her somewhat unstable personality. However, Forster finally reveals her to be a woman of character and decency who accepts the difficulties she suffers.
Cyril Fielding - the Principal of Chandrapore College, where young Indians are educated in the British style. As a single, older Englishman, Cyril is tolerant and finds it easy to interact with Indians as well as with Englishmen. There is no feeling of racial superiority in him. He is, in Forster's words, a " large shaggy type with sprawling limbs and blue eyes." Scholastic and thoughtful, he believes in the value of education, and is popular with his students. He is at his best, however, in private conversation. The English men tolerate him, but English women dislike him because he is not a real Sahib.
Ronny Heaslop - a British District Magistrate. He is the son of Mrs. Moore and fiance of Adela Quested. He has neither sympathy nor understanding of India, the Indian culture, or the attitude of the Indians to life. He believes that the only way to rule the Indians is by subduing them, controlling them, and even insulting them on occasions. He is so opposed to the natives that he does not want his mother to communicate or interact with Indians. He is one of many arrogant British bureaucrats who ruled over India without understanding.
Mrs. Moore - Ronny Heaslop's mother, an old woman who voyages to India with Adela Quested, to see the country and hopefully see Adela married to her son. She is a kind of universal mother who believes that people are born to love one another. She is shocked and unhappy about her son's attitude to Indians and dismayed at the behavior of many people in India. Mrs. Moore befriends Dr. Aziz, but has an unsettling experience with the echo in the Marabar Caves, which prompts her to hurry back to England.
Mrs. Moore is the paragon of Christian decency and kindness, but she suffers from anxiety concerning her own mortality. Afterwards, Mrs. Moore becomes sullen and depressed. When Ronny suspects that she will aid Aziz in his defense, he arranges for Mrs. Moore to leave India. On the journey home, she dies from heat exhaustion.
Mahmoud Ali: This friend of Aziz serves as one of the lawyers for his defense, and takes a defiant anti-British stance. His behavior during the trial is dangerously aggressive, and he threatens to provoke a riot after Aziz's acquittal. Later, he refuses to clear up the misunderstanding concerning Fielding's marriage to Stella Moore. Hamidullah: This friend of Aziz, educated at Cambridge, tells Aziz that one can only be friends with an English person outside of India.
Major Callendar: Major Callendar is the civil surgeon in Chandrapore and Aziz's boss. He is a boastful, cruel, ridiculous, and intolerant man. Also he takes part in the trial against Aziz, attempting to stop Adela's confession on medical grounds. Mrs. Callendar: The wife of Major Callendar, she typifies the Anglo-Indian mindset, openly dismissing the Indians as uncultured inferiors.
Summary of Chapter II Dr. Aziz arrives by bicycle at the house of Hamidullah, where Hamidullah and Mr. Mahmoud Ali are smoking hookah and arguing about whether it is possible to be friends with an Englishman. Hamidullah, educated at Cambridge, claims that it is possibly only in England, and the three gossip about English elites in India. Midway through dinner, Dr. Aziz is summoned by the Civil Surgeon, Major Callendar. Aziz is furious about the interruption, but leaves. His bicycle breaks down on the way, and he must hire a horse cart to reach the surgeon's bungalow. By the time Aziz arrives, the surgeon has left without leaving any messages. To add insult to injury, two British women, who emerge from Mr. Callendar's house, take the horse cart hired by Dr. Aziz, ignoring the doctor completely. Aziz feels humiliated, turns towards the Mosque, where he can seek solace and peace. As he sits in the Mosque brooding, a British lady enters. He is immediately angry at her invasion. She, however, reveals that she has taken off her shoes in Indian tradition and that she expects to find God in the Mosque. Aziz is impressed with the respect she shows. He learns that her name is Mrs. Moore and that she is the mother of the District Magistrate, Ronny Heaslop. They exchange information about family, and he finds her to be kind-hearted. He also feels able to complain to her about the episode at Callendar's. She is sympathetic and honest in her response. Aziz calls her an "Oriental" and escorts her back to the club. It is the beginning of a true friendship.
Analysis In this chapter, Forster establishes several of the major themes that will predominate A Passage to India. Most important among these is the vast difference between the English colonial elite and the native population of India (P. 2137). Forster makes it clear that the British elite treat the Indians with disrespect, as demonstrated by Major Callendar's summons to Aziz and his wife's oblivious attitude toward Aziz when she takes his tonga. However, Aziz is too polite to confront the women on their slight. He values behaving politely to these English elites over asserting his own sense of self-respect.
Forster harbors a particular distrust for English women in India, finding that they are more likely to treat Indians with disrespect (2135). The Indians are aware of the degrees of English treatment toward them, as shown when Hamidullah notes that the English in India are less kind than the English in England. This evokes broader themes of colonialism that permeate the novel; Forster indicates that the position of the English as rulers changes the social dynamic between them and the Indians at the expense of normal, cordial behavior that would otherwise occur.
Dr. Aziz emerges in this chapter as an easily excitable man who is conscious of any slight against him by the English elite, having been trained by experience to notice these snubs. He automatically assumes the worst when dealing with the English, as shown with his premature reprimand of Mrs. Moore, who defies all of his expectations of English women (2139). Aziz is extremely sensitive to others behavior and initially distrustful of Mrs. Moore, his reserve soon melts around Mrs. Moore after she shows respect for him and his culture. This relates to a major theme in the novel, the interaction between eastern and western culture. Mrs. Moore is to a large extent an idealized character in A Passage to India; this elderly woman is sensitive, intelligent and kind to Dr. Aziz. She is a symbol of all that is decent in western culture; she takes liberal views to Christian ideals of behavior. It is not at all surprising that Dr. Aziz so quickly takes a liking to her.