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MonkeyNotes-A Passage to India by E. M. Forster
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Chapter 35

The Rajah dies during the night, but it is kept a secret since the town is in the midst of holiday. Unaware of the death, Aziz takes his children for a walk the next morning. They visit a Muslim shrine, dedicated to a saint who freed prisoners according to his mother's wishes. At the shrine, they bump into Fielding and his brother-in-law, who are promptly attacked by bees. Now, more mature, stern and official, Fielding asks about Aziz and his affairs. He tries to be friendly and asks Aziz why he has not answered his letters. Aziz replies tritely and in riddles, showing no emotion. When Fielding asks about arrangements for the torch festival the same evening, Aziz refuses to help. Fielding complains that no one has been helpful to him.

As they reach the carriage, Aziz sees Fielding's brother-in-law and calls him Mr. Quested, assuming that Fielding has married Adela. Fielding is startled and informs Aziz that he has married Mrs. Moore's daughter, Stella. At this revelation, Aziz is deeply ashamed. When Fielding tries to explain, Aziz stops him, saying that it does not matter to whom he is married. He also tells Fielding, in Urdu and in front of his children, that he wants no British friends. Ironically on the way back to his house, Aziz feels excited and happy about the uncanny encounter. He also remembers Mrs. Moore and his promise to be kind to Stella, her daughter, and Ralph, her son.


Notes

The misunderstanding between Fielding and Aziz over Adela is cleared, but it is too late; the damage between the two friends is done. Aziz feels ashamed of his suspicions about Fielding. He also feels bad because he has been unkind to Ralph; he had promised Mrs. Moore that he would be kind to her children.

In spite of the death of the Rajah of Mau, the festivities will go on, and the news will be hidden. Fielding and his party are anxious to watch the Hindu torch parade, not really respecting the private nature of the religious observance. Fielding and his group are clearly pictured as interlopers, consuming India.

It is ironic that Aziz meets Fielding in the temple. One man is a British Christian, and the other an Indian Muslim; both are in a "foreign" place, but it is obvious that Forster shows Aziz to belong and Fielding to be spurned. In fact, Fielding and his brother-in-law are stung by bees when they enter the shrine, almost as a warning not to tread upon a Hindu holy place. It is not the first time Forster has put a stinging insect with a British; remember that Aziz compared Mrs. Moore to a wasp. Once again the weather intensifies the scene, where nothing is what it seems, and all situations are fraught with hidden difficulties.

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