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A PASSAGE TO INDIA close analysis
The permanent divide and the impossibility of a connection between people of different cultures are exposed in Forster’s polyphonic novel A Passage To India. The never ending ‘muddle’ not only among the Indians and the British, but with the Hindus as well, leaves the reader with a disappointed understanding that a harmonious existence in India is neither possible nor desired. The author similarly imparts a sense of frustration permeated in his writing, depicting the good virtues of all willing parties, but uncovering the ultimate complexity of the racial mystery.
Scornfully illuminated in the first passage is the undeserving respect India holds for the British. Despite Aziz’s obvious resentment for the invaders, describing the Anglo Indian occupation as a ‘net’, he is portrayed as an inferior, resigned to his ‘subordinate’ duties. Forster’s sympathetic notion for India is signified in the description of the ‘inevitable snub’ evoking a sense that neither England nor India have ever attempted to bond as a country. In a similar vein, the writer’s concern for Indian relations is captured as Aziz bribes his fellow Oriental to receive a ‘very civil’ answer, highlighting the tarnished values of India as a country. The grievances between the East and West are further empowered as Aziz’s character is introduced as a petty individual, finding comfort the Mesdames Callendar and Lesley ‘should both be fat’, scrutinising the tension between the two races. The words ‘except the newcomer’ additionally capture the gaping disparity between England and India, proving the pathetic treatment of the East as a whole and their engrained inability to exist peacefully with a Western culture.
Prophetically examined in passage two is the irony of Mrs. Moore’s rejection of the Marabar caves and her burdening echo that ‘Professor Godbole had never mentioned’. As the caves are described as ‘devoid of distinction’ Forster creates a parallel with the foreshadowing limits of an interracial connection with England and the East. While the ‘exquisite echoes’ are pitted as ‘monotonous noise’, Forster evokes an ominous image of the Marabars, creating a similarity of conundrums with the hopelessness of a virtuous connection with the rigid British and the Spiritual Indians. Forster’s insightful metaphor of a worm coiling ‘which is too small to complete a circle, but is eternally watchful’ references the wholehearted attempt at a successful relationship between the two contrived races which can never be completed. As Mrs. Moore cannot understand why Godbole did not mention such an echo, the write implies that the English cannot comprehend the divinity of India and its inhabitants. Furthermore, Forster’s imagery of ‘small snakes which writhe independently’ pervades a sense of the overarching problems concerning each group’s isolation from each other, resulting in a failure to combine as one. Mrs. Moore’s cherished ideal to not ‘disappoint’ Aziz also compels the reader to comprehend the resounding English attitude of being overly polite, hindering a possibility of acceptance for one another.
Even within his own country, Aziz finds the ‘gulf’ of difference between the Muslims and the Hindus. Forster’s conviction of the failure among India and the British is further enlightened in the final passage, as Aziz feels uncomfortable not knowing ‘how much he was supposed to see’. The frustration of a persistent misunderstanding between any cultures is additionally propelled by Forster’s reference to religious tension between the two faiths, inferring that Godbole could not touch ‘a non Hindu’. Aziz’s apologetic persona is again inflamed as he says ‘sorry’ to Godbole for touching him, suggesting his repeated subservience with not just the English, but his fellow Oriental as well. Forster continues to provide evidence of the honest perception that connections with separate cultures are largely limited, as Aziz questions why Godbole did not prevent him from ‘plunging into a pretty pickle’. Forster’s description of Godbole as someone who had ‘never been known to tell anyone anything’ enforces the disparaging difference of behaviour among separate races. Additionally, the writer conveys Aziz as somebody who ‘did not pay attention to these sanctities’ for he could not understand them, only reproducing his notion that the idealistic peacefulness between the East and West will never occur.
Resigned to the reality of failure between human connectedness, Forster positions the audience to understand how difficult it is to substantiate a lucrative relationship among differing races. Notably, Aziz’s ignorance to his own simple mindedness when presented with Godbole’s Hinduism and identically Mrs. Moore’s failure to understand India’s own ‘muddle’ supports Forster’s stance on the limitations of man’s ability to interconnect, permeating a sense of failure and regret in his writing.
Posted on 05/10/2011 at 12:00:00 AM