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MonkeyNotes-A Passage to India by E. M. Forster
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Chapter 17

The Collector, Turton, waits for Fielding in the lobby of the railway station, from where he watches Aziz being taken away by the police. When Fielding enters, Turton tells him that Aziz has been arrested for "insulting" Miss Quested. Fielding is shocked and defends his friend, saying that Aziz cannot have done it. He says that Adela must be made to withdraw such a charge against him. Mr. Turton is furious at Fielding's words and demands that he withdraw his remark. Fielding, however, refuses to do so, which enrages Mr. Turton even more. He believes that the modesty of the fiancée of his "most valued subordinate" has been violated by an Indian. He has decided to teach Aziz and all the Indians a lesson for this act of misconduct. As Turton leaves the station, he sees a crowd looting the belongings of the travelers, including some of Aziz's possessions. He orders them to stop.


Notes

This chapter is important because it begins to develop the character of Turton. He is an important British official who is impressed with his power. When Adela claims that Aziz has been immodest with her, it is Turton that has Aziz arrested. After all, Ronny, is one of his valued employees, and he cannot allow the young man's fiancée to be insulted by an Indian. He also hopes to teach the natives a lesson with Aziz's arrest. Turton's attitude clearly reflects that he has no respect for the Indians.

When Fielding questions Adela, an English woman, and defends Aziz, an Indian, Turton is infuriated. He demands that Fielding take back his words and insinuations, but Fielding refuses to do so. Turton only grows more angry. The reader is left to think that Aziz will have a hard time proving his innocence to these opinionated English men. The novel's conflict deepens.

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