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MonkeyNotes-A Passage to India by E. M. Forster
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PLOT (Structure)

The novel is divided into three sections: Mosque, Caves, and Temple. The titles themselves are suggestive of the meaning that is to be found in the story. Forster strives to bring about his vision of India as pluralistic society, and the section titles imply Muslim, physical, and Hindi. Also, these three sections imply the three seasons of India, winter, summer, and monsoon. There is a passage in the plot during the three sections from positive affirmation, followed by negative reaction, and ending up with a sort of muted reaffirmation.

The Mosque section depicts the problem of separation between man and his fellow man and between man and the universe. Within the section, there are attempts by characters to bridge the gap. In fact, a Muslim man (Aziz) and an English woman (Mrs. Moore) meet, connect, and seal a bond of friendship and understanding which lasts throughout the novel. East and West meet harmoniously to bridge the gaps of age, race and place.

In the Caves section of the novel, the gap of misunderstanding widens and is replaced by the deafening echo of the caves. The hideous sound drives Adela to the verge of madness and Mrs. Moore to total indifference. When Aziz is falsely accused and imprisoned, the gap between British and Indians grows wider than ever, resulting in anger and chaos.

In the third section, entitled Temple, evil starts to recede. Aziz dedicates himself to finding an understanding of the whole India and addressing it in poetry; Mrs. Moore dies peacefully and becomes a legend which benefit others; the emphasis on Sri Krishna gives a sense of hope, love, and unity. There is also a foreshadowing that the despicable rule of the British in India will soon end.


Besides being developed in three sections, the story also develops along a classic plot line. The first chapter is largely introductory, giving a description of the setting in Chandrapore and introducing several of the key characters. The rising action develops the distance and animosity between the British and the Indians (the rulers vs. the ruled). Dr. Aziz is particularly developed as the main character and protagonist. Even though he tries to bridge some of the gap between his race and the English by becoming friends with Mrs. Moore and Fielding, he is shattered when he is falsely accused by Adela, an English woman, and imprisoned by the British official, who would like to see him dead. During his trial, he is exonerated by Adela, but the damage has been done. He has a new hatred for everything British. As a result, he leaves Chandrapore forever to try and gain an understanding of India. The falling action shows Dr. Aziz living in a new environment where the British rule is not so blatant, trying to grasp some of Hinduism, trying to experience more of India, and trying to write poetry. The conclusion indicates that Aziz has gained some level of peace; he also predicts that the British dominance in India will soon come to an end.

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