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MonkeyNotes-A Passage to India by E. M. Forster
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Chapter 13

The Marabar Hills look magical and romantic in certain lights and from certain distances. At the club with Miss Derek, Adela remarks that Aziz must have forgotten about his invitation to take her and Mrs. Moore to the Marabar Hills. A servant overhears Adela and relates the story to Aziz. He is ashamed; he has assumed that both the English ladies must have forgotten his remark. To right his wrong, he begins preparation for the trip. He asks Fielding to help him. The Englishman says that he is not interested in going to the caves, for they bore him. On Aziz's insistence, he finally agrees to go along.

Aziz wants the visit to be a special event, resembling the tea party. He busies himself, making arrangements for transportation and food (for Hindu, Muslims, and Christians). Fielding agrees to extend invitations to both Mrs. Moore and Adela Quested. Even though the ladies are busy, they agree to go provided Ronny has no objection. Godbole is also invited. No one, however, seems enthusiastic about the trip. In fact, Aziz's friends think he is crazy.

Aziz spends the night before the journey at the railway station, making sure all is in order. The ladies arrive in the darkness of early morning. They are seated comfortably in the train. Fielding and Godbole do not arrive in time to catch the train. Both of them are spotted by Aziz at the railway crossing. He calls to Fielding, asking him to leap onto the train, but Fielding cannot. He shouts that they are late because of Godbole's unusually long morning prayer. The burden of conducting the whole tour falls on the shoulders of Aziz. Mrs. Moore tries to make him forget that things have gone wrong. Aziz, however, is still all aflutter, making and remaking last minute adjustments.

Aziz has also invited his old cousin, Mohammad Latif, whom he introduces to everyone. In the second class carriage, away from the ladies, Aziz asks his cousin about the significance of the caves. His cousin says that only God and local villagers, who work as guides, know the truth about the caves.


Notes

Aziz assumes that Mrs. Moore and Adela have forgotten about his invitation to go to the caves. Then he learns from a servant that Adela has mentioned it. He immediately begins to make elaborate preparations for the trip even though his friends think he is crazy.

The trip does not have an auspicious beginning, foreshadowing the inevitable disaster that is ahead. No one seems excited about the trip, and Fielding and Godbole completely miss the train. Dr. Aziz is extremely nervous; he obviously lacks the confidence to take these ladies to Marabar by himself without Fielding. When he spies his British friend going towards the train station, Aziz shouts to him, begging him to jump aboard; the good-hearted Fielding tries, but cannot do it.

This chapter is from Aziz's point of view. The reader is made to feel his nervousness and discomfort. Both ladies try to be kind to their host, assuring Aziz that their visit to the caves will be very successful and that all the guests will enjoy themselves. Unfortunately, this prediction is not true; the outing rattles towards certain disaster.

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