Understanding Difference. Essay

1010 words - 4 pages

Understanding DifferencesUnderstanding a country, a culture or even a person, who is different from us, without a question, is a challenge. Different people use different methods to get to know other cultures better. Some read, some travel, some make friends with people from other cultures and some merely use their own stereotypes and generalizations about a particular culture. In the end some people do get a good understanding about another culture that they are trying to understand while some don't. So what is the best way to get to know another culture? Is it reading, traveling, making friends or the generalizations? I personally believe that it is through making friends. Knowing people from a different culture will eventually make one understand that culture. Strong, positive personal relationships with people who are different can give one the best and the most genuine understanding about differences. In his novel, A Passage to India, E.M.Forster introduces us to several characters that are trying to understand a different culture in many different ways. In understanding cultural differences some characters such as Fielding, Ralph and Mrs.Moore become considerably successful because they made friends with a native (Aziz). But the other characters like Adela, Ronny, Callender and McBryde uses other methods like traveling or cultural generalizations and make mistakes that lead to terrible misunderstandings.Adela's character represents the type of people who try to understand a culture by traveling as tourists. She wanted to see the "real India"(P22). So she goes to the Marabar Caves and face the unexpected. Then she makes the terrible mistake of accusing Aziz of "insulting" her (P180). She and many people around her get trapped in a web of misunderstandings because she did not see the real India. She did not have the proper understanding about the people who are different from her own race at the time. She was a mere spectator of cultural differences. This spectator approach towards a culture kept her from getting up close and personal with the differences in order to understand them (the differences). But the little she knew about Aziz as a person, made her change her mind and corrects her mistake later. If not for the little understanding she had about Aziz personally, the misunderstanding would have led to a disaster and Aziz would have been convicted. So even if she had traveled to a hundred different places in India before Marabar and seen India the way she wanted to see it, she would have still misunderstood Aziz. But what made her understand Aziz eventually was the time she spent getting to know him. Traveling and seeing places gives one the knowledge about a certain place but not the understanding.The understanding Mrs. Moore had of India is the sort that one can get by reading about a place. She did have some knowledge about India when she first arrived. That is why she took her shoes off before entering the mosque (18). She also has...

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