A Passage to India: Culture Clash

CONTEXT British context ?Forster was a British writer and most of his readers were British. His work reflects also England and the period in which Forster lived and wrote. He is commonly regarded as an Edwardian novelist, because his first four novels were published during the reign of King Edward VII (1901-1910); in this period his values and outlook were developed. ?England had undergone the traumatic experience of the First World War; more than 750000 soldiers were killed, along with another million from other parts of British Empire. Between 1912 and 1924, the British policy had also changed: there were two main parties, the Liberal and the Conservative. ?British Empire was changing. The change was more evident in Ireland. Ireland gained the indipendence in 1921. KEY POINTS ?FULL TITLE: “A Passage to India” ?AUTHOR: Edward Morgan Forster ?TYPE OF WORK: Novel ?TIME AND PLACE WRITTEN: 1912-1924 England ?DATE OF FIRST PUBLICATION: 1924 ?TENSE: Past ?THEMES: Culture Clash; Friendship; Ambiguity; Religion ?CHARACTERS: Dr Aziz, Mr Fielding, Adela Quested, Mrs. Moore, Ronny Healsop ? SETTING ( TIME ): 1910s or 1920s SETTING ( PLACE ): India, specifically the cities of Chandrapore and Mau. Carico… CHARACTERS Dr Aziz ?Is the central Indian character in the novel. ?He works at the government hospital in Chandrapore. ?He writes poetry and his favorite poetic themes are: the Decay of Islam and the brevity of Love. ?He’s described as a true “Oriental” person. ?He’s very goodwill and his impulsive nature get him into situations that cause him trouble. ?Like many of his friends prefers to communicte throught confidences, underlying words and indirect speech ? Like many other Indians struggles with the problem of the English in India.

CHARACTERS Mr Fielding ?The principal of the Government College (that is, a British? run school) in Chandrapore. ?He has “no racial feeling“. ?He’s far and away most the successful at developing relationships with native Indians. ?He’s less comfortable in teacher – student interaction than he is in one -on- one conversation with another individual ? Serves as Forster’s model of liberal humanism. ?At the and of the novel Forster seems to identify with Fielding less. CHARACTERS Adela Quested ?Her character develops in parallel to Mrs Moore’s one ?She’s an individual and educated free thinker Adela hopes to see the “real India” ?She puts her mind to the task, but not her heart and therfore never connects with Indians. CHARACTERS Mrs. Moore ?Mrs. Moore serves a double function in “A Passage to India” ? She’s initially a literal character. ?She becomes more a symbolic presence. ?The solution to the problem in India. ?Her name becomes more associeted with Hinduism ?She’s the heroine of the novel CHARACTERS Ronny Heaslop ?Forster ‘s emphasis is on the change that happened, when Ronny first arrived in India. ?Ronny’s character is a sort of case, an exploration of the restrictions of English colonial. Ronny’s tastes, opinions and even his manner of speaking are no longer his own, but those of older, ostensibly wiser British Indian officials. ?Clash with both Adela and his mother, Mrs. Moore. CHARACTERS There are also some characters that are less important that the previous and are: ? Mahmoud Ali: a Moslem and a close friend of Dr Aziz. ?Major Callender: the head of the government hospital in Chandrapore. ?Professor Godbole: an Indian who teaches at the college of Chandrapore. ?Hamidullah: a Moslem, educated at Cambridge University. ?Mr. McBride: the district superintendent of police in Chadrapore.

Carico… DEEPENING ON FEMALE CHARACTERS ?Adela Quested ?A young Englishwoman who comes to India With Mrs. Moore. ?She is expected to marry Mrs. Moore’s son Ronny Heaslop. ?Her behavior radically affects the lives of the characters around her. ?On a symbolic level, Adela may also represent most people’s inability to communicate or to understand the deeper patterns and meaning of life. While she is at Fielding’s tea party, she remarks that she is not planning to stay long in India. ?She breaks off her engagement with Ronny and stays with Fielding for a while before leaving India and returning to England.

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Moore argues with Ronny and when it becomes clear that Ronny and Adela will not marry, Mrs. Moore realizes that her duties there were evidently finished. She doesn’t want to see India; Mrs. Moore has lost interest in the trip. For her, the echo’s message is “Everything exists, nothing has value. ” Shortly thereafter? just before Aziz’s trial? she leaves India; we later learn that she has died on the voyage back to England However, her presence continues to be felt after her death. ?At the end of the novel, the spirit of Mrs. Moore returns to India symbolically in the form of her daughter Stella, who has married Mr.

Fielding. THEMES Culture Clash ?The clash between two differents cultures, those of the east and those of the West. ?The West is represented by the Anglo – Indians in Chandrapore. ?Their social life centers around the Chandrapore Club. ?They have no desire to “understand” India or Indians. ?The East is represented by the Indians. ?We have a clash also between two distinct group of Indian: Moslems and Hindus. ?“Hindus have no idea of society”. THEMES Friendship ?Is one of the most important things in life. ?There are many friendships : 1. Dr Aziz and his friends Hamidullah and Mahmoud Ali . Dr Aziz and Mrs. Moore 3. Aziz has a curious friendship with Professor Godbole. 4. British and Indians ?Impersonal forces at work in India will not yet allow the friendship between English and Indians. THEMES Ambiguity ?“A Passage to India” is full of ambiguity. ?In chapter 7 are introduced two terms that are repeated several times througthout the novel: “mistery” and “muddle”. ?Doubt and ambiguity surround two different events in the book that occur at the Marabar Caves: 1. Those of Adela. 2. Those of Mrs. Moore. THEMES Religion ?Religion is the major preoccupation in the book. The three parts of the book; Mosque – Cave and Temple, generally correspond to these religions: 1. Aziz loves the cultural aspects of his Islamic heritage. 2. The Anglo – Indians are spokemen of Christianity 3. Professor Godbole is the central Hindu figure in the book. His belief is the most representative of the true spirit of India. STYLE ?“A Passage to India” is written in the third person, with an impersonal narrative voice. ?The narrator is apparently omniscent. ?The narrative focus shifts from a description of external events and enters the consciousness of one character or another. At the same time, however, the narrative withholds a full explanation of certain events, most notably the misadventures that befall Mrs. Moore and Adela Quested at the Marabar Caves. Indeed, in recounting these details, the narrator is ambiguous rather than omniscient. STRUCTURE ?“A Passage to India” is divided into three parts or sections: 1. Part 1 , titeld “Mosque”, takes place during the cool, dry season. 2. Part 2, titeld “ Caves”, takes place during the hot season. 3. Part 3, titled, “Temples”, takes place during the rain season. ?Part 3 is the shortest of the three sections of the novel and might be considered as an epilogue.

SETTINGS ?Chandrapore and in the Marabar Caves ?Within the town itself the author identifies several settings: 1. Civil Station 2. Chandrapore Club 3. Public places ?The third section is set in the town of Mau, a Hindu state several miles from Chandrapore. SETTINGS Although Forster uses poetic license in naming places, the settings correspond to real places in India. The novel’s main city, Chandrapore, is actually based on the Indian suburb Bankipore, part of the city of Patna in the northern region of Bihar. The invented name, however, is not so far fetched.

Forster probably chose this city for its different representation of India: its culture, history, and nature are all noteworthy. The town of Mau, is an example of an Indian hill station, a retreat from Indian plains that offers a serene place of beauty to both tourists and natives. The Marabar Caves about which Aziz knows so little are based on the Jain Temples on the Barabar Hills, once considered a retreat for Jain monks. The most impressive of the four caves on the Barabar Hills is Loma Rishi. The three other caves on the Barabar Hill are Sudama), Karnachopar, and Visvajhopri. SYMBOL ?The most obvious symbols are mosque and cave.

Both for Aziz and Mrs. Moore, the mosque is a symbol of refuge and peace, a sanctuary. The first meeting of Aziz and Mrs. Moore takes place in the mosque at night, under the moonlight. Mrs. Moore has gone to the mosque because she is bored with the play she has been attending at the Chandrapore club. ?The mosque, is a symbol of the “real” India. ?The cave bears some resemblance to the mosque, in that both are closed spaces. Here, however, the resemblance ends. The cave is dark, featureless, and menacing. Although there are many caves at Marabar, it is impossible to distinguish one from another; they are all alike. We don’t know the real meaning of this symbol but It is at least certain that whatever else they might suggest, they stand for misunderstanding and meaninglessness, or what Mrs. Moore calls “muddle. ” THE UNCERTAINTY IN THE CENTRAL EPISODE. ?One of the most unique aspects of Forster’s novel is the uncertainty, the sense of not defined, which is focused on the central episode of the book: the alleged attempted rape in Marabar caves. In fact, the writer says nothing about what actually happened in the caves; in the novel there is a contrast between the before and the after that leaves the door open to interpretation. Forster himself said so very ambiguous, “In the caves there is, a man an hallucination or the supernatural. If I say it becomes whatever the answer, a different book. “ ? This uncertainty is also present in the film: between the before and the after there’s a sharp cut that the viewer can interpret as he wishes, by carefully observing the scene we can feeling that Aziz is actually entered the cave with Adela but we aren’t sure of what he did. EXTRAS Islam Hinduism In Islam, belief in one God is the most important belief.

Their God is called ALLAH, the Almighty, Creator and Sustainer of the universe, who is similar to nothing and nothing is comparable to Him Hinduism is commonly percived as a politheistic religion. Indeed, most Hindus would attest to this, by proffessing belif in multiple Gods. Islam exhorts man to consider himself and his surroundings as examples of Divine Creation. The trees belongs to God, The sun belongs to God… The mayor differences between the Hindu and the Muslim perception of God is the common Hindus’ belif in the philosofy of Pantheism. The common Hindu considers everything as God.

The major difference between the Hindu and Muslim belifs is the difference of the apostrophe “s” Hinduism has a caste system, with four major castes. Members of each are required by strict religious laws to follow hereditary occupations and to refrain from intermarriage or eating with members of another castes. The highest or priestly and intellectual caste is that of Brahmans,. The remain three are: Kshatriya (warrior caste), Vaisya (agricultural caste) and Sudras ( the low caste) In Islam, all humans are created equal, infact Islam rejects characterizing God as favoring certain individuals or nations.

Everyone may distinguish himself and get His favour through virtue and piety. Cow is a sacred animal. Cows can’t be killed or eaten Muslims belive that each person has a body and a soul. Your faith and actions in this life will determine your fate in the life after Death. Hiduists believe in body and soul. Your soul returns to your body after death. Your status of caste in next life depends on your deeds in the previous life.

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