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MonkeyNotes-A Passage to India by E. M. Forster
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Notes

The success of the tea party at Fielding's house is a sharp contrast to the official bridge party held by the British for the Indians. Fielding, Aziz , Adela, Mrs. Moore, and Godbole have tolerant attitudes and enjoy one another's company. Fielding's friendliness and hospitality help to dissolve barriers, allowing conversation to be free and easy. During the party, Aziz's simplicity makes Adela realize unconsciously that she will not marry Ronny, who is overbearing. She also decides she could never settle permanently in India.

A new and interesting character is introduced in this chapter. Professor Godbole, a calm, older Hindu man, is a contrast to the impulsive Aziz. Godbole seems mysterious, especially during his periods of silence, in his singing of the strange song about God not coming, and in his descriptions of the Marabar Caves. The mystery of the caves is significant, for it foreshadows the strange events that will later occur in the novel during Adela and Mrs. Moore's visit there.

It is important to notice Aziz's reactions to Hindus. Although this Moslem man is normally portrayed as being fair-minded, he is not so objective when it comes to Hindus. When the ladies tell him about being stood up by the Hindu ladies, Aziz is not surprised and calls them irresponsible and claims Mrs. Moore and Adela would not have enjoyed their company. He also reacts negatively to Godbole presence at the tea party. Forster does not gloss over the sometimes tense relations between Hindus and Moslems.


Fielding's party is important for several reasons. The foremost is that Forster presents for the first time in the novel the possibility of a British/Indian friendship. There seems to be some genuine feeling between Aziz and Fielding. They talk freely and easily, with total comfort around one another. When Fielding loses his collar stud, Aziz calmly offers him his own, not bothering about how shabby he will look without them. Fielding accepts it with the same generosity.

The tea party is also important because it allows Foster to bring Aziz and Godbole together and contrast them. Aziz is practical and scientific. In contrast, Godbole represents the mystic mind of a Hindu. Aziz is quick to judge and often impatient; Godbole is slow and thoughtful. Aziz is friendly and talkative; Godbole is aloof and silent. Mrs. Moore tries to appreciate both men and both points of view. She has been previously fascinated with Aziz, as seen in the Mosque. In this chapter, she is similarly fascinated with Godbole and his mysterious song. Some critics feel that Mrs. Moore's later apathy and loss of interest in life stems from the song of Krishna that Godbole sings. Mrs. Moore, in her strong faith, often appeals to God, but Godbole's song states that God will never come.

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