free booknotes online

Help / FAQ




<- Previous Page | First Page | Next Page ->
MonkeyNotes-A Passage to India by E. M. Forster
Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version

Chapter 2

Dr. Aziz goes to Hamidullah's house for dinner. He, Hamidullah, and Mahmoud Ali discuss whether it is possible to make friends with the British. Mahmoud Ali, who is only familiar with the English people living in India, says it is not possible to strike up a friendship with them. Hamidullah, who is educated in England and has English friends there, says that it is possible to make friends with the English, but only in England. He adds that they arrive in India acting like rulers and soon become high-handed, snooty, and snobbish, treating Indians as an inferior race.

Hamidullah changes the topic, saying that there are more enjoyable things to do than discuss the British. He says, the moonlit night and the aroma of the delicious food being cooked is much more inviting. The men relax, smoke, and talk. During the conversation, Aziz reveals that he is a widower. His three children are being looked after by his mother-in-law.

Midway through dinner, Dr. Aziz is summoned by the Civil Surgeon, Major Callendar. Aziz is furious about the interruption, but leaves. His bicycle breaks down on the way, and he must hire a horse cart to reach the surgeon's bungalow. By the time Aziz arrives, the surgeon has left without leaving any messages. To add insult to injury, two British women, who emerge from Mr. Callendar's house, take the horse cart hired by Dr. Aziz, ignoring the doctor completely. Aziz, feeling humiliated, turns towards the Mosque, where he can seek solace and peace. As he sits in the Mosque brooding, a British lady enters. He is immediately angry at her invasion. She, however, reveals that she has taken off her shoes in Indian tradition and that she expects to find God in the Mosque. Aziz is impressed with the respect she shows. He learns that her name is Mrs. Moore and that she is the mother of the District Magistrate, Ronny Heaslop. They exchange information about family, and he finds her to be kind-hearted. He also feels able to complain to her about the episode at Callendar's. She is sympathetic and honest in her response. Aziz calls her an "Oriental" and escorts her back to the club. It is the beginning of a true friendship.


Notes

In the first part of this chapter, there is a discussion on whether or not it is possible for an Indian to make friends with a British, whether it possible to make a passage between the religious, linguistic, and cultural barriers that divide two races. This question will become the main, unifying theme of the novel. Ironically, the answer to the question is presented in this second chapter, for it is clearly stated that the only place an Indian can be a friend to an Englishman is in England. Once a British man arrives in India, he becomes a ruler with a snobbish and rude attitude.

The holy place for Moslems is the Mosque, which represents a belief in the oneness of God and therefore, a possibility of understanding between people. It is a place filled with peace. It is not surprising that when Aziz feels humiliated and upset, he turns to go to the Mosque to find solace. It is also not surprising that he is at first upset to see a British woman enter the Mosque.

Aziz is pictured as a young Moslem doctor who is impulsive, intensely patriotic, and very sensitive; his feelings get easily hurt several times in the novel. But he is also warm, eager, and affectionate. That is why he can accept Mrs. Moore, for he finds her to be a sensitive, kind and compassionate woman; her simplicity soothes Aziz. He accepts her readily as his friend, and she sees him as a charming man who represents a meaningful life in India.

The Indians presented in this second chapter are highly educated, intelligent, honest, hardworking people, who have a sense of fair play and justice. Their sense of right and wrong is very clear. The British, on the other hand, are shown as being shallow, completely lacking in common courtesies and good manners, arrogant, and insolent. They treat Indians with complete contempt. It is clear that Forster's sympathies are with the Indians and their cynical acceptance of things as they are. He is not blind to the weaknesses of the Indians, but he feels the cruelties of the British far outweigh the shortcomings of the natives.

Foster also gives a very positive glimpse of a Muslim household. It is a friendly, hospitable house, even though it is male dominant. The women observe purdah; no men, except those who belong to their immediate families, can see them or speak to them in a friendly, open manner.

Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version


<- Previous Page | First Page | Next Page ->
MonkeyNotes-A Passage to India by E. M. Forster
Google
Web
PinkMonkey

Google
  Web PinkMonkey.com   

All Contents Copyright PinkMonkey.com
All rights reserved. Further Distribution Is Strictly Prohibited.


About Us
 | Advertising | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Home Page
This page was last updated: 5/7/2007 10:05:00 PM