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"A Passage To India" By E.M. Forster

1184 words - 5 pages

Essay talks about cultural misunderstandings in the book "A Passage to India" by E.M. Forster between the British and the Indians. Some sentences don't read well, but overall clear and easy to read.Cultural MisunderstandingIn his novel A Passage to India, E.M. Forster uses a series of repeated misunderstandings between cultures, which become solidified into social stereotypes, to justify the meaningless attempts to bridge the cultural gaps. In many instances, the way in which language is used plays a great role in the miscommunication between the English and the Indians, as well as among people of the same culture. This is illustrated in the way of which people use the same words, but do not hear the same meaning. It is also displayed through the British characters Aziz meets, through invitations, time and mistakes.Upon meeting the British, there are two notable instances of miscommunication which occur when Aziz meets the British characters in the novel that will end up being close, yet controversial friends. Upon his confrontation with Mrs. Moore at the Mosque, he sees a British woman and right away, he develops a series of misconceptions about her. He believes that she is like all other British women, who are too good for the Indian's. "'Madam, this is a mosque, you have no right here at all; you should have taken off your shoes; this is a holy place for Moslems.' 'I have taken them off.' 'You have?' 'I left them at the entrance.' 'Then I ask your pardon. I am truly sorry for speaking.' 'Yes, I was right, was I not? If I remove my shoes, I am allowed?' 'Of course, but so few ladies take the trouble, especially if thinking no one is there to see'" (p.13-14). What Aziz finds is the surprising fact that she is like Aziz in many ways or as he describes her, "Oriental" (p.17). Yet, when seeing this side of the British woman, he again breaks his connection with her when she speaks of her son "'And why ever do you come to Chandrapore?' 'To visit my son. He is the City Magistrate here.' 'Oh no, excuse me, that is quite impossible. Our City Magistrate's name is Mr. Heaslop. I know him intimately.' 'He's my son all the same,' she said smiling." (p.15). It does not occur to Aziz that Mrs. Moore's son may be part of the Indian race. Whether her son is or not, the miscommunication between them also applies to both of their cultures.Another character that Aziz makes a connection with is Mr. Fielding. When Aziz arrives at Mr. Fielding's home to meet him for the first time, he has the same type of miscommunication that he does with Mrs. Moore, yet it is displayed in a contrasting fashion "Lifting up his voice, he shouted from the bedroom, 'Please make yourself at home.' The remark was unpremeditated, like most of his actions; it was what he felt inclined to say. To Aziz it had a very different meaning" (57). Aziz understands Fielding's remark as a kind invitation, whereas Fielding has a routine of making the remark people saying one thing and meaning another,...

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