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MonkeyNotes-A Passage to India by E. M. Forster
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Chapter 22

Adela spends several days at McBryde's bungalow, recovering from her trauma and the cactus needles that stuck her during her escape from the cave. Although she is carefully nursed by Miss Derek and Mrs. McBryde, she is still depressed. She thinks about the horrible echo and breaks down. She admits that Aziz never touched her and wants to ask forgiveness. She also wants to tell the truth about what happened, but she is not sure what the truth is. Something strange did occur in the cave, but the memory is not clear. Adela would like to talk to Mrs. Moore about it, but she does not come to visit.

When Adela is well, Ronny comes to take her home. He tells her there has been a riot at the end of the festival. He also explains about the trial proceedings. The trial will be overseen by Das, an Indian, and Ronny's assistant. Adela will be required to appear in court, identify the accused, and be cross-examined by an Indian lawyer. She does not mind all this, but she says she needs Mrs. Moore to be with her at the trial. He then shows Adela Fielding's letter and tells her about the background of his alliance with the Indian community over the whole affair. She says she feels terrible about Fielding's poor treatment of Ronny and claims she does not deserve to be engaged to him. She admits she knows nothing about personal relationships. She also asks Ronny not to touch her.

Ronny takes Adela to Mrs. Moore. He warns her that there has been an extreme change in his mother. She is irritable and resentful and constantly says that she wants to go back to England. Upon her arrival, she completely ignores the girl and does not mention the trial. When Adela mentions the horrible echo in the cave, Mrs. Moore says that she wants no part of India or Adela - not the cave, not the trial, not the marriage. She is sick to death of people and all their petty problems.

Adela realizes that she has made a terrible mistake by accusing Aziz. When she admits the truth about Aziz to Mrs. Moore, the older lady indifferently replies, "Of course, he is innocent." When Adela insists that Ronny withdraw the case, he replies that the machinery has been put in place. Mrs. Moore finishes the thought by grimly saying, "It will work to its end." She wants no part of the evil she sees in motion; in fact, in her depression, Mrs. Moore sees the whole world as hopeless. Ronny decides to send his mother back to England, as she wishes, for she is certainly no good to anybody in India. Adela breaks into tears over the entire situation.


Notes

Adela has come to rely on Mrs. Moore to help her temper justice with mercy, criticism with love, and fiction with fact. Now the girl desperately needs Mrs. Moore's wise input to help her understand what has really happened in the cave. When Adela is recovered and Ronny picks her up from Mrs. McBryde's house, he agrees to take her to his mother. Adela appeals to the woman for help; but Mrs. Moore is so entirely withdrawn and condemning that she does not at first even acknowledge Adela. When Adela specifically asks her about the horrible echo in the cave, Mrs. Moore responds that she wants no part of Adela or anything Indian. When Adela admits that Aziz never touched her, Mrs. Moore says that she has always known he was innocent.

This chapter shows Forster's great craftsmanship as a writer as he gradually brings the plot to its climax. Previously, he has shown how Fielding is alienated from both the English and the Indians and has doubts about himself. In this chapter, Mrs. Moore is shown as a changed woman; she is negative and depressed. She wants nothing to do with Adela or the trial; in her tiredness and frustration, she simply wants to go to England. Ronny decides to send her home, since she will be of no use to the British case against Aziz.

It is important to note that the prisoner has not been presented for several chapters, since he was arrested. This intentional omission on Forster's part is to build suspense in the reader, who wonders what is the mental state of Aziz and will happen in the trial which should not really occur. Adela has admitted to Mrs. Moore and Ronny that Aziz has not touched her and begs her fiancé to call off the trial. Ronny denies the request, saying the machinery for the proceedings have already been put in place and cannot be stopped. It is obvious that he does not want to see justice done; he wants Aziz and all Indians to stand accused.

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