Document Sample
Forster Powered By Docstoc
					              The photograph shows
              Forster 1935 at the age of
              56. It is presented here by
              courtesy of Peter Stein

E. M. Forster (1879-1970)
A Passage to India

         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.
                    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
                      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
                        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
                    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
• We are introduced to Chandrapore, a city that is part of the
  British Raj. It is separated into three parts: Mosque, Caves,
  and Temple.
• 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
• 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
• 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
                      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
• 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
• 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
• 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
                   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
• 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
• Chap 7: Fielding contends that English
  women can never be friends with Indian
  men. Disaster happens whenever the two

                  Cecilia H. C. Liu
• 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
• 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
• “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

                        Cecilia H. C. Liu