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A Passage To India Essay

1748 words - 7 pages

E.M. Forster, born into a middle-class family in London, was a humanist and an English writer famous for his literary works which called attention to the hypocrisy (present in the time in which he lived). In his novel A Passage To India, Forster explores the relationship between and within the Anglo-Indian and Native-Indian communities under British Imperialism and expounds on the sins which its members commit against the humanistic values of sympathy and understanding. Additionally, in A Passage to India Forster reflects the relationship phases which occur between his characters through the use of the three main divisions -- Mosque, Caves, and Temple.
The First division Mosque, a Muslim place of worship, is set in the fictional city of Chandrapore and brings about the first stage of human confrontation --Introduction. One of the first introductions Forster makes to the reader is the division of the Indian and British cultures. He does this by describing Indian Chandrapore to be a place where the “streets are mean, the temples ineffective, and though a few fine houses exist they are hidden away in gardens or down alleys whose filth deters all but the invited guest.” (Forster 3) while describing British Chandrapore “to be a totally different place. It is a city of gardens. It is no city, but a forest sparsely scattered with huts. It is a tropical pleasaunce washed by a noble river” (Forster 4). The idea of ‘introductions’ is further explored in Dr. Aziz’s visit to the mosque which lets “loose his imagination..where his body and thoughts have found their home” (Forster 16), where the “many small sounds [of the] English...amateur orchestra...Hindus drumming...owls” (Forster 17), all diverse in nature, echoed through a similar space -- a meeting ground, and where he meets the oriental Mrs. Moore foreshadowing to the establishment of the relationships between Indian and English characters at the different social events such as Mr. Turton’s Bridge party, Mr. Fielding’s tea party, and, although not a social event, the meeting between Mrs. Moore and Dr. Aziz in the Mosque. In addition to the establishment of Character relationships, the nature of Anglo-Indian society is also discovered through the aforementioned social events. The very term “Bridge Party” refers to “a party to bridge the gulf between East and West” (Forster 26). However, in contrast to what the party was intended to do, friendly, willful contact between Native Indians and the Anglo Indians is quickly deemed taboo by Mrs. Turton who, in addition to her frequent condescending remarks, reminded Mrs. Moore that civilized social cues did not apply. “You’re superior to them, anyway. Don’t Forget that. You’re superior to everyone in India except one or two for the Ranis, and they’re on an equality” (Forster 42). Not only are the two parties separated physically, “Indian guests...stood massed at the farther side of the tennis laws” (Forster 38), the Anglo Indians create a barrier mentally as...

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