A Passage to India

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A Passage to India is a 1924 novel by E.M. Forster about relationships between Britain and India in the last days of the British Raj and the struggle for Indian independence. The novel opens with Adela Quested and Mrs. Moore arriving at India. Adela is to marry Ronny Heaslop, Mrs. Moore's son and the city magistrate. While visiting a mosque one night, Mrs. Moore meets Dr. Aziz, an Indian physician. The two become close friends. At a later visit, Dr. Aziz agrees to take Mrs. Moore, Adela, Cyril Fielding (a pro-Indian teacher at a local school) and Narayan Godbole (a Hindu-Brahmin professor) to a visit to the Marabar Caves.

Something happens when Adela enters a cave by herself-the book is never clear on just what it is. She leaves the cave bloody and disheveled, and accuses Dr. Aziz of raping her. The man is arrested, which leads to the Indian community and Fielding spring to Aziz's defense. Fielding is ostracized from the English community. Mrs. Moore is criticized by Ronnie for her belief that Aziz is innocent and her unwillingness to testify at the trial.

A film of the book was made in 1984, directed by David Lean.

Tropes used in A Passage to India include:

The book provides examples of:

  • Ambiguous Situation: No one will ever know what really happened in the Marabar caves, Forster refused to say insisting that it wasn't as important as the chain of events it set in motion
  • Author Avatar: Most, if not all of Fielding's opinions about India are Forster's himself.
  • The British Empire
  • Burial At Sea: Mrs. Moore dies on the voyage back to Britain, resulting in this type of burial.
  • Inherent in the System: One of the main critiques the book levels against the Raj is that it co-opts even the most well meaning of the English into viwwing the Indians as inferior. It is also the reason that Aziz and Fielding can't be friends while the British remain in India
  • The Raj
  • Scenery Porn: There are a lot of descriptions about the Marabar Caves, the mosque that Aziz and Mrs. Moore visit, etc.

The film provides examples of: