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MonkeyNotes-A Passage to India by E. M. Forster
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Chapter 5

The bridge party, honoring Mrs. Moore and Ms. Quested, is held on the lawn of the club. From the very beginning, it is a failure. The Indians arrive first and bunch together in one corner of the garden. The British are hesitant to mix with them. The host asks his wife to go and meet the Indian women and introduce them to Mrs. Moore and Adela. She reluctantly approaches the women in a corner. She speaks in uncultured, poor Urdu, a dialect which she uses with her servants. The Indian women, who are usually very sociable, react to this insult; they think that their hosts are arrogant and not interested in mixing with them. The result is that the Indian women huddle together more tightly. Attempting to be courteous, Mrs. Moore tries to speak to them. On an impulse, she asks one of the Indian ladies if she and Adela could visit her home. A visit is scheduled for Thursday.

The collector mixes with his guests, outwardly pretending to be friendly. Mentally, however, he is busy finding faults with the Indians, belittling them in every way possible. Only Mr. Fielding, the Principal of the local college, is genuinely pleased to be with the Indians. Having no prejudices, Fielding freely and easily mingles with the natives, strikes up conversations with them, and tries to put them at their ease. He observes Adela and Mrs. Moore and is pleased that they are courteous, seem cultured, and genuinely want to understand India and its people. Fielding invites the two women to his house.

After the party, Adela is depressed with the idea that if she marries Ronny, she will have to live among those narrow-minded, dreadful British people in suffocating surroundings. Ronny realizes that Adela objects to his arrogant behavior towards the Indians; however, he explains to his mother that he has come to India only to "do justice and keep peace" and not to be pleasant with the locals. Mrs. Moore insists that it is the duty of the British to treat Indians as humans, for she feels that everyone is a child of God. Ronny is indifferent to her religious attitude and expresses the same by being silent. He treats Mrs. Moore's thinking and her faith in religion as symbols of her ill health and old age. Mrs. Moore, on the other hand, thinks that she needs God more than ever in this mysterious land of India.


Notes

In this chapter, Forster shows how difficult it would be for the English and Indians to ever live in friendship. The reactions of the various Indians who have been invited to the British bridge party are all different, but all of them feel uneasy and suspicious about the invitation. The only India who is truly excited about the party is Nawab Bahadur. Aziz refuses to attend the party, saying he is needed at the hospital.

Once they arrive at the party, the Indians do not know how to act or interact. As a result, they stand huddled in a corner, off by themselves. The English are distant and mean-spirited to them. The hostess, Mrs. Turton, typifies the official English woman who looks down on the natives. When her husband asks her to speak to the India females, she shuns them by speaking in a low dialect. As a result, she comes across as insolent and arrogant. It is ironic that the Indian women are much more traveled and knowledgeable than Mrs. Turton, yet she judges herself to be superior to them.

During the chapter, Miss Quested is presented and developed as self-confident, self-reliant, and too individualistic to accept the norms of an established, confining routine. She spurns the security of conformity, asking questions and presenting new ideas. As a result, she is a threat to the others, including Ronny. Mrs. Moore, like Adela, also has a mind of her own, but she is the most uncomplicated, simple, and straightforward woman presented in the novel. She trusts others and receives trust in return, despite the fact that she can accept the Indians and tries to understand them. Her philosophy of universal love is based on her relation to her concept of God as a kindly and universal being. Her son Ronny thinks his mother is only religious because of her advancing age and ill health

By 1924, there were many educated Indian women, including nurses, doctors, lawyers, and teachers. The arrogant English men, however, refuse to recognize them. Mr. Turton sends his wife over to greet the female Indian guests, but she only makes matters worse.

To sum up the bridge party, the British are bored and condescending, and the Indians are shy and aloof. The get- together, which was to bring the two races closer, ends up only drawing them further apart.

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