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MonkeyNotes-A Passage to India by E. M. Forster
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Mr. and Mrs. Turton

Mr. and Mrs. Turton are typical British-ruler types. Mr. Turton is the Chief Collector, the highest position in Chandrapore. He has little understanding of Indian life and culture and adopts a patronizing attitude towards Indians. He is too brash to realize that the natives have their own dreams and aspirations. He genuinely believes that only disaster can result from a closer interaction between Indians and the English.

Mrs. Turton is unabashedly disdainful of India and extremely contemptuous of Indians. She mixes with Indians only reluctantly. Her hysterical outbursts before the trial, and afterwards at Adela, show the depth to which her prejudices and hatred for Indians has sunk.

Adela Quested

Adela Quested is unlike the British who rule India. She is frank, open to correction, unprejudiced, and comes to India to experience and understand the real India. Because she is willing to interact with, learn from, and support the Indians, the British establishment looks upon her with suspicion. She looks at the British rulers with contempt because of their superior attitude and lack of concern for anything Indian.

Adela is young and impressionable; she lacks enough self- confidence to make definite decisions. She has come to India with Mrs. Moore to become better acquainted with her son, Ronny, who is supposed to become her husband. When she discovers his arrogance and rudeness, she cannot imagine the prospect of spending her entire life with Ronny or in Chandrapore. Yet through much of the book she wavers back and forth about her marriage plans. In one chapter she is engaged to Ronny; in the next she has broken the engagement.


Adela is never clear about what exactly happened to her in the Marabar Caves, but she is very frightened about something. At first she thinks that perhaps Aziz followed her into the cave and improperly approached her; when she returns to Chandrapore, she openly accuses Aziz, which causes him to be arrested. Later she realizes that Aziz never came into the cave and thinks that perhaps she has seen a ghost or been approached by a tour guide. She asks Ronny to cancel the trial, but he will not hear of it, saying the machinery is already in motion.

During the emotional trial, Adela has the inner moral strength to stand up to the tension and tell the truth, exonerating Aziz. As a result, she is isolated from both the British and the Indians. Only Fielding befriends her and takes care of her until she returns to England. Adela again shows her strength when she writes a letter of apology to Aziz. She is not, however, so naïve as to believe she can ever hope to regain his trust as a friend or even his understanding. In addition, she shows her character in the manner that she accepts Ronny's rejection of her. During the course of the novel, Adela matures and wins the respect of the reader, becoming a kindred soul with Mrs. Moore.

Forster intentionally leaves the problem of what happened to Adela in the caves unexplained. In so doing, he indicates that there is a mysterious face of India which will never reveal itself completely. He also indicates that human personality is complex, and no one, not even the very person, can hope to understand themselves fully.

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