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MonkeyNotes-A Passage to India by E. M. Forster
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Chapter 37

Friends again after the boating incident, Fielding and Aziz go on a last ride together in the jungles of Mau. They are happy to resume their old friendship, even though they know that they will not see each other again because they have each chosen to become more nationalistic. Aziz is in search of the real India to write into his poetry; and Fielding, with his British family, is now more accepting of his homeland and may return there since it turns out that Godbole has no school for Fielding to teach in. Although he laughs about the situation, Fielding is still absolutely convinced that British education is vital in India.

Aziz shows Fielding a letter he has written to Adela to thank her for exonerating him. At last, he realizes that he should respect her for, above all else, she is associated with his beloved Mrs. Moore; he adds this to the end of the letter.

Fielding tells Aziz that Stella has been calmed by the odd visit to Mau. He still asks Aziz to talk to her about Marabar. He also tells Aziz that he might learn something from Ralph, who can be very wise. Aziz says it is enough that Ralph has brought him and Fielding back together. In typical manner, the two old friends spend their last hour arguing and justifying their nationalistic stands. When Fielding wants to talk about the spiritual side of India, Aziz says it is useless to discuss the Hindus with him. When Fielding claims that Indians would not survive without the British, Aziz thinks that his Afghan ancestors might be better trusted to rule India. When Aziz suggests the notion of India as an independent state, Fielding mocks the idea. Aziz responds by shouting in rage and saying that India will be free of the English, and only then can he be friendly with Fielding again. Hugging Aziz, Fielding says, "Why can't we be friends now?" The earth, the temples, the rocks, and everything around them seem to think it is not possible. They jerk away from each other, and a hundred voices seem to say, "No, not yet." The sky responds, "No, not there."


Notes

Fielding has come to Mau to teach at Godbole's school, but it exists only on paper. Even though the official reason for his being in Mau is a failure, the unofficial visit reunites two friends and brings the novel to a satisfactory close. When Aziz gives a letter to Fielding for Adela to thank her for her help, it is symbolic; Aziz has arrived at a rather spiritualized state of inner peace and union.

Aziz refusal to talk to Stella and Ralph is not cruel. He wants to make a clean break with Britain and his past. His new thoughts are on Indian independence, an idea that Fielding derides. In truth, Fielding has retreated into his Britishness. He is now a man with a British family, which solidifies his national feeling. Although he asks about "this Krishna business" and seems interested in the Hindu ideas of oneness and unity, neither he nor Aziz can put much stock in the idea. As a result, Forster leaves India pluralistic.

Although Aziz knows that Fielding has no basic trust that people can rule themselves outside of western tradition, he predicts to his British friend that India would soon free herself from the shackles of English rule; his claim was not far-fetched, for the break occurred about twenty years after the novel was published.

A Passage to India has been described by some critics as a novel of reconciliation. Although it has some special moments of reconciliation and a wonderful unity of design, it definitely does not end in full reconciliation. Although Fielding and Aziz are friends again, there are irreconcilable differences between their eastern and western thought. At the same time, India is left as a pluralistic society, split between religious beliefs and caste systems.

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