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MonkeyNotes-A Passage to India by E. M. Forster
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Chapter 20

The Anglo community is nearly in hysterics, fed by their own rumors. Even though Adela has never been popular with the British, her plight ironically brings everyone closer to her. The British women express their hatred for all Indians, when one of them could so poorly treat an innocent British girl. They also feel a bit guilty for allowing this girl the freedom to go into the cave alone, unchaperoned.

The Collector urges everyone to be calm. Ironically, he is not very calm himself. Although Aziz is not proven guilty in the eyes of the law, he is eager to punish Aziz, as well as all Indians and Fielding. Major Callendar brings the news that Adela has recovered. He also implies that Aziz had bribed Fielding and Godbole to miss the train, intentionally leaving Aziz alone with Mrs. Moore and Adela. Fielding is furious at this baseless accusation. At this moment Ronny comes in, looking exhausted; he begs for sympathy for his fiancée. All rise to their feet in respect to him, but Fielding stays seated. He feels that to be sympathetic to a pack of lies is to condemn both Aziz and India. When asked to explain the reason for his rude behavior, Fielding again declares that Aziz is innocent. He also says that if Aziz is proven guilty, he will resign his job and leave country. The Collector demands an apology from him, but Fielding refuses to comply. As a result, he is ordered out by Turton. Later, Fielding feels sorry for having quarreled in front of Ronny. He is also saddened by the tragic chain of events. He thinks that life in India may not be for him; he wishes he had chosen some other path.


Notes

The animosity between Anglos and Indians in Chandrapore widens in this chapter. The charges against Aziz and his imprisonment are the talk of the town. As stories about him are repeated, the rumors grow more outlandish. The British women, who express hatred for all Indian men because of Aziz, are seen as shallow and silly. They are advised to be quiet and to stay calm by the British officials.

Major Callendar, who is caring for Adela, enters to announce that the girl is gradually improving. He makes it clear that he thinks Aziz is guilty. After all, he has always been jealous of Aziz because he knows that Aziz is a better surgeon than he. He also hates Fielding and is annoyed to find him at the club. He suggests that Godbole and Fielding have taken a bribe from Aziz as payment for missing the train and not going to the caves. Fielding is outraged at the suggestion; he is also incensed about the prejudice and injustice of the British community.

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