Cecilia H. C. Liu E. M. Forster E. M. Forster (1879-1970) A Passage to India The photograph shows Forster 1935 at the age of 56. It is presented here by.
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Cecilia H. C. Liu E. M. Forster E. M. Forster (1879-1970) A Passage to India The photograph shows Forster 1935 at the age of 56. It is presented here by courtesy of Peter Stein (http://www.fredstein.com/).http://www.fredstein.com/
Cecilia H. C. Liu A Passage to India E.M. Forster wrote A Passage to India in 1924, the last completed novel that he published during his lifetime.
Cecilia H. C. Liu A Passage to India The novel differs from Forster's other major works in its overt political content, as opposed to the lighter tone and more subdued political subtext contained in works such as Howards End and A Room With a View. The novel deals with the political occupation of India by the British, a colonial domination that ended after the publication of Forster's text and still during his lifetime.Howards End A Room With a View
Cecilia H. C. Liu The title Forster took the title from Walt Whitman's poem "Passage to India", 1870. The Suez Canal, creating a passage to India, was completed in 1869. "While "Passage to India" is very much about the anticipatory joy of a global union fulfilling the destiny first sought by Christopher Columbus, it is also about the voyage of the soul or spirit and the resultant discovery that lies beyond India, the cradle of civilization, the motherland of America. In fact it is India, as the ultimate goal of Columbus's voyage, that represents all great human undertaking and, at the same time, the distinct wonder of America, for when Columbus arrived in America, he thought he was in India," from An Analysis of Asian Influences in "Passage to India" by Matthew Whitman Lazenby.
Cecilia H. C. Liu Background of the Novel (I) The colonial occupation of India is significant in terms of the background of the novel. Britain occupied an important place in political affairs in India since 1760, but did not secure control over India for nearly a century. In August of 1858, during a period of violent revolt against Britain by the Indians, the British Parliament passed the Government of India Act, transferring political power from the East India Company to the crown.
Cecilia H. C. Liu Background of the Novel (II) This established the bureaucratic colonial system in India headed by a Council of India consisting initially of fifteen Britons. Although Parliament and Queen Victoria maintained support for local princes, Victoria added the title Empress of India to her regality. The typical attitude of Britons in India was that they were undertaking the "white man's burden," as put by Rudyard Kipling. This was a system of aloof, condescending sovereignty in which the English bureaucracy did not associate with the persons they ruled, and finds its expression in characters such as Ronny Heaslop and Mr. McBryde in A Passage to India.
Cecilia H. C. Liu Background of the Novel (III) Indian nationalism began to foment around 1885 with the first meeting of the Indian National Congress, and nationalism found expression in the Muslim community as well around the beginning of the twentieth century. Reforms in India's political system occurred with the victory of the Liberal Party in 1906, culminating in the Indian Councils Act of 1909, but nationalism continued to rise.
Cecilia H. C. Liu Background of the Novel (IV) India took part in the first world war, assisting the British with the assumption that this help would lead to political concessions, but even with the promise after the war that Indians would play an increased role in their own government, relations between the English and Indians did not improve. After the war tension continued; in 1919 ten thousand unarmed Indians were massacred at Amritsar's Jallianwala Bagh during a protest. It is around this time that Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi became a preeminent force in Indian politics, and it is also around this time that Forster would wrote A Passage to India.
Cecilia H. C. Liu Background of the Novel (V) More than twenty years later, after a long struggle, Parliament passed the Indian Independence Act in 1947, ordering the separation of India and Pakistan and granting both nations their sovereignty.
Cecilia H. C. Liu Plot We are introduced to Chandrapore, a city that is part of the British Raj. It is separated into three parts: Mosque, Caves, and Temple. MOSQUE Aziz is a poor doctor who has lived dutifully under British command, but has grown more frustrated with their treatment of him and his fellow Indians. He and his friends discuss the English and complain that they have changed in attitude over the years and have become more intolerant and cold. The British officials at the civil station in Chandrapore run a club that forbids Indians from attending and try to avoid any intimate friendships or relations with the natives. Mrs. Moore and Adela Quested come over from England to visit Ronny Heaslop, Mrs. Moore's son and Adela's betrothed.
Cecilia H. C. Liu Caves Aziz gets to the train station especially early so nothing will go wrong with the excursion. Mrs. Moore and Adela arrive on time, but Fielding and Godbole have not yet arrived. Aziz is nervous because he does not want to be left alone with the women, anticipating that trouble will arise. Ronny also disapproves of the women being left alone. He sends over a servant to follow them to make sure they are not left alone with Dr. Aziz. Fielding and Godbole arrive too late. They miss the train and Aziz is left to travel alone with Mrs. Moore and Adela. They put him at ease and assure him they are in good hands. At the caves, the weather is hot. The three go in and out of the caves, which all look similar. Within the caves is the haunting sound of an echo. While Mrs. Moore is in the cave, which is completely dark, she feels something touch her. But she is haunted by the sound of the echo, which takes over her thoughts. She decides to rest after her experience and let Adela and Aziz continue to explore other caves.
Cecilia H. C. Liu Adela becomes preoccupied with her engagement to Ronny and realizes she does not love him. Before she enters the cave, she asks Aziz about his wife and love. Adela and Aziz become separated eventually and Aziz can not find Adela. Aziz hears a car and later assumes that Miss Derek, Adela's friend, picked up Adela. Fielding joins Aziz and Mrs. Moore and they board the train back to Chandrapore. When the train pulls into the station, Aziz is arrested for charges that are unknown to him. Fielding publicly vows to defend Aziz and alienates himself from his countrymen. Aziz is charged with making improper advances to Adela in the caves. Fielding believes that Adela was hallucinating.
Cecilia H. C. Liu As the trial approaches, Mrs. Moore becomes more aloof. Adela seeks her support, but Mrs. Moore wants nothing to do with her or anyone else. Adela is haunted with the echoes from the caves, and when she realizes Aziz's innocence, the echoes go away. She tells Ronny about her doubts of Aziz's guilt and Mrs. Moore backs them up, but Ronny encourages her to go on with the trial and continue to press charges. Mrs. Moore, with the support and encouragement of her son, leaves for Britain before the trial. She dies en route, unable to endure the heat and travel conditions. At the trial, Adela continues to hear echoes. The courtroom becomes charged with emotion. Indians in the courthouse begin to call for Mrs. Moore to clear the name of Aziz. When Adela is called to the witness box, Mr. McBryde presses her until finally she admits that she is not sure if Aziz is really guilty. The judge drops the charges and all of the Indians in Chandrapore celebrate Aziz's victory. Adela walks the streets in a daze and is intercepted by Fielding. He invites her to his office for her safety.
Cecilia H. C. Liu Aziz becomes jealous while Adela and Fielding spend time together. Fielding pities her since her engagement has been broken and since she put her life on the line to tell the truth. He asks Aziz not to collect money from Adela for damages. Rumors begin to spread that he and Adela are having an affair. Fielding denies the rumor, but in the back of his mind, Aziz believes the rumor to be true and thinks Fielding will marry Adela for her money. After the trial, Aziz wants nothing to do with the British and begins to write poetry about the motherland and the nation. He decides to move out of the Raj to a free Indian state. Fielding and Adela return to England.
Cecilia H. C. Liu Temple Two years have passed and Aziz and Godbole now live in Mau, an independent Hindu state. Godbole is the Minister of Education and Aziz has a clinic in town. The town is celebrating the arrival of a new God and is filled with singing and dancing in the streets. Godbole receives a note that Fielding and his new wife will be paying a visit. He tells Aziz who refuses to see them. Aziz has ignored all of Fielding's letters and postcards over the years and assumed that he has married Adela in London. Aziz runs into Fielding and his new brother-in-law (Ralph) by accident, when he goes out to attend to Ralph's bee sting.
Cecilia H. C. Liu Aziz treats Fielding coldly. Fielding asks why Aziz never returned his letters. Finally, Aziz realizes that Fielding did not marry Adela, but Mrs. Moore's daughter, Stella. Adela introduced them in London. Aziz continues to behave coldly and says he wants nothing to do with the British. Later on, Aziz checks up on Ralph's bee sting and continues to be cold, but is finally overcome by a spiritual epiphany brought on by the celebrations in town. He asks Ralph if he knows when a stranger becomes a friend and he answers yes. This was what his mother said to Aziz in the Mosque when they met. Finally, Aziz and Fielding become friends again. Aziz gives Fielding a letter to deliver to Adela forgiving her for her charges against him. He has left the past behind him. As Fielding and Aziz say their final good-byes, their horses pull them away from each other and they know they will never see each other again.
Cecilia H. C. Liu One night, Mrs. Moore encounters Dr. Aziz in a Mosque in the moonlight. They are at first startled by each other, but instantly become friends. Mrs. Moore and Adela are more liberal than Ronny and wish to see the "real India" and befriend Indians. Mr. Fielding, the Principal of the Government College, invites Adela and Mrs. Moore to his home for tea. He also invites Dr. Aziz, who he recently met and liked instantly, and his mystical Hindu colleague Professor Godbole. Fielding's tea party is very friendly and comfortable. Aziz feels so at ease, that he invites the women on an excursion to the caves at Marabar.
Cecilia H. C. Liu Topic Tracking: Earth (1) Chap1: The Marabar Hills are described as the fists and fingers of the south. Despite their human characteristics, the hills are imposing. Earth here is more impressive than any of the people in Chandrapore. Chap3:The women are fascinated by the moonlight, which has a mystical quality to it. However, a British stranger reminds them that in British India, though they might be halfway around the world from home, they stick to the same moon. Therefore, there is little spirit or imagination in the India of the English. Mrs. Moore and Adela hope for something more.
Cecilia H. C. Liu Topic Tracking: Earth (2) Chap 3: Looking into the sky, Mrs. Moore sees a moon that is very different from the moon in England. This moonlight filled her with a sense of unity with nature and the heavens the way it never had at home. Chap 10: The heat of April, an aspect of the earth in India, makes things quite unbearable and influences the behavior of those who live there.
Cecilia H. C. Liu Topic Tracking: Earth (3) Chap 18: McBryde tries to argue that the hot climate and geographic conditions of India drive the Indians to behave the way they do. He contends that nature has control over man in India and if the British were to endure this climate, they would behave the same way. Chap 23: When Mrs. Moore first came to India, the mystical forces of the earth overtook her. However, after the engagement of Ronny and Adela, she becomes burdened with the duties of reality and this disrupts her union with spirit and earth.
Cecilia H. C. Liu Topic Tracking: Earth (4) Chap 24: The echoes of the cave haunt Adela and make her question her charges against Aziz. The sound of the caves haunts her until she reveals the truth about Aziz and clears her conscience. Chap 37: The earth prevents Aziz and Fielding from riding back to each other. It prevents the continuation of their friendship, at least until the British leave India.
Cecilia H. C. Liu Topic Tracking: Love (1) Chap 8: Though they have broken off the engagement, the bumpy ride in Nawab Bahadur's car awakens Adela and Ronny's feelings of love, or at least lust. Chap 11: Aziz and Fielding discuss marriage. Aziz admits that he fell in love with his wife after they were married. Sharing the photo of his wife with him is an act of brotherly love. Fielding also admits that he has never married or never plans to. He says he is too old to fall in love.
Cecilia H. C. Liu Topic Tracking: Love (2) Chap 15 : Adela begins to doubt her love for Ronny. She realizes she is not in love with him and questions if she is capable of loving another. She thinks she is too intellectual to be in love. Chap 27: Fielding can not understand why Aziz loved Mrs. Moore so much, since she had not been there for Aziz, especially after the cave incident. He tells Fielding that Mrs. Moore was oriental in her emotions--she never measured love. Fielding is very western and Aziz feels he measures his emotions too much. Chap 28: Ronny terminates the engagement with Adela. The two had never been in love and were probably incapable of loving each other.
Cecilia H. C. Liu Topic Tracking: Love (3) Chap 29: Both Adela and Fielding have given up on love and think they will never love anyone. Chap 36: Ralph tells Aziz that his mother loved him very much. Though Aziz is very short with Ralph, Ralph overlooks the behavior and assures him that he is a friend, though he is a stranger. This oriental attitude is like his mother's. Ralph proves he is capable of loving on instinct the way his mother had.
Cecilia H. C. Liu Nationalism (1) Chap 3: The British National Anthem inspires feelings of power rather than patriotism. England's role in India is one of power and control. Chap 14: While discussing Akbar, a Hindu figure who had a unifying force, Aziz tells Mrs. Moore and Adela that India cannot be united. As a Muslim, he feels divided from the other half of India.
Cecilia H. C. Liu Nationalism (2) Chap 24: Adela begins to feel guilty about the notion of the British as a civilizing force. She contemplates who gave them the right to control a country. At the same time, McBryde uses a "scientific" approach to prove the racial and national superiority of the British over the Indians. Mahmoud Ali becomes vocal about the unfair role of the British in India. He stands up for Indian nationalism and storms out of the court.
Cecilia H. C. Liu Nationalism (3) Chap 25: The otherwise pro-British Nawab Bahadur, the most diplomatic and respected of Indians, becomes so inspired by the cruel treatment of his son and the treatment of Aziz by the British, that he renounces his name and title for his Islamic name. Chap 30: The trial awoke the nationalist spirit in Aziz. He now began to think of the motherland in his poetry.
Cecilia H. C. Liu Nationalism (4) Chap 35: Aziz expresses his wish not to associate with any British people. He even pushes away the friendship of Fielding. Chap 37: Aziz and Fielding part ways, knowing they can never be friends as long as the British continue to control India.
Cecilia H. C. Liu Religion (1) Chap 2: At the Mosque, Aziz feels renewed. He feels most at home there. His body and spirit are unified by his religion in the Mosque. He is more loyal to Islam than to his country. Chap 4: Two missionaries discuss God and how he does not exclude any creature from his house. This conversation is ironic against the backdrop of the colonized India.
Cecilia H. C. Liu Religion (2) Chap 5: Mrs. Moore is a religious woman. She talks to Ronny about the bad and unchristian treatment of the British towards the Indians. She says that God loves everyone and since India is part of the earth, God loves the Indians. Chap 7: Religious thought is divided in India. Aziz blames an Indian couple's bad manners on the fact that they are Hindu. Chap 13: To put Aziz at ease when Fielding and Godbole do not arrive, she tells him that they will all be Muslims together--signifying their equality.
Cecilia H. C. Liu Religion (3) Chap 14: Aziz tells Mrs. Moore and Adela that he can not accept the Hindu notion of universality. He believes it is best if every one adheres to his own religion. In the caves, the 'boum' sound erases all religious thoughts from Mrs. Moore's mind. The echo becomes more powerful than her religion. Chap 22: In the aftermath of the incident at the caves, Mrs. Moore loses her interest in religion and all other aspects of life.
Cecilia H. C. Liu Religion (4) Chap 24: In her despair, Adela strays from her usually intellectual ways and begins praying again. In her absence, the Indians at the trial begin to chant Mrs. Moore's name. By mispronouncing her name as Esmiss Esmoor, they have called her the name of a Hindu goddess. Chap 33: Mrs. Moore appears in Godbole's head during a spiritual fervor. The visit by Mrs. Moore completes him and brings him closer to God. God is love.
Cecilia H. C. Liu West vs. East Chap 2: English people are civil, or even friendly, towards natives when they first arrive in India. However, the longer they stay in India, the greater the gulf grows between them and the Indians. Though the English and Indians are both physically in the East, there is a clear separation between Eastern and Western culture in colonized India. Chap 3: Adela confronts Ronny about his treatment of Indians. Still fresh in India, she feels the bridge between East and West can be crossed with pleasant and equal behavior. Ronny advises her that her naïve perspective will change the longer she stays in the country.
Cecilia H. C. Liu West vs. East Chap 4: Many Indians are skeptical about the sincerity of Turton's invitation to his Bridge Party. Nawab Bahadur, a person who is respected by British and Indians, convinces his countrymen to attend the party. Chap 5: Adela and Mrs. Moore are sad that there is no interaction between the British hosts and the Indian guests. The Bridge Party does not create a bridge between the people.
Cecilia H. C. Liu West vs. East Chap 7: Fielding and Aziz forge an instant friendship despite their racial differences. Chap 8: Aziz tells Nawab Bahadur's grandson that believing in superstition and evil spirits is a defect of the East. The West has advanced, he believes, because they believe in reason and logic. Chap 16: Fielding tries to tell Aziz that he should not think about the picnic in terms of East and West, but simply in terms of friendship.
Cecilia H. C. Liu West vs. East Chap 17: Turton, who believes his years of experience in India have made him wise and knowledgeable, says that Indians and English are incapable of interacting on an intimate basis. That is why he feels there should exist a great distance between them. Chap 27: Aziz tries to explain to Fielding that Mrs. Moore, though an old British woman, was an Oriental at heart. She had an Eastern way of relating to people. Aziz considers measuring emotion, as Fielding does, to be a Western trait. Chap 37: Aziz and Fielding part ways, knowing they will never see each other again. The notion that Indians and British can never be intimate friends while the British control India seems to hold true.
Cecilia H. C. Liu Women Chap 2: Mrs. Moore impresses Aziz by removing her shoes before she enters the Mosque. This is a sign of respect that he does not expect from British women in his country. Chap 7: Fielding contends that English women can never be friends with Indian men. Disaster happens whenever the two meet.
Cecilia H. C. Liu Women Chap 11: Aziz shows Fielding a picture of his wife: an act that is forbidden unless it is between brothers due to the tradition of purdah, the separation and veiling of women. Fielding asks if people in the world were to treat each other as equally as brothers, if there would be no more need for purdah. Chap13: Aziz's friends now warn him that it is not advisable for him to mix with British women. They predict something bad will happen due to his interaction with these ladies.
Cecilia H. C. Liu Women Chap 20: At the club, the men talk of protecting the women and children. This incites in them a blinding national pride. Chap 34: Aziz begins to write poetry about Oriental womanhood. He calls for the end of purdah, which he believes is an essential step to forming Indian statehood.
Cecilia H. C. Liu References “A Passage to India Study Guide.” 10 Nov. 2005. ---. GradeSaver: Classical Notes. 18 Nov. 2005. SparkNotes: A Passage to India. 14 Dec. 2005. SwissEduc: Forester, E.M. 10 Nov. 2005.
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