A Passage to India Study Guide

A Passage to India Study Guide

Original title:
A Passage to India

A Passage to India is a fiction novel by E. M. Forster that shows us the relationships between English and Indian people during the time of the British colonization. The main hero of the story is an Indian Muslim Aziz, who tries to be as open to the English people as possible, as long as they respect him and his traditions. But in the end, he falls victim of the bigoted attitude that always sees him as lusty and primal creature because of his ethnic origins and religion. Aziz is a perfect gentleman, a physician and a well-educated man and he is shocked how much some of the English people (amongst which is a young and proper lady) are interested in embarrassing and intimate details of his life they consider thrilling and exotic.

A single word of a white person is enough to turn a respected physician into a criminal and rapist and forever ruin his reputation in his native city. But he isn’t the only victim of racial prejudices, the white people suffer from it too, though the consequences aren’t nearly as devastating as for Aziz.

The best friend of Aziz, who is also an Englishman is ostracized from the society with the completely Orwellian accusation of being a “blood-traitor” simply for asking the court to investigate the case instead of blatantly condemning Aziz. He has to depart to England, because the local white society refuses to accept him back and he himself doesn’t want to have anything in common with such hypocrites. The girl Aziz befriended and escorted to the walk as a gentleman, had her engagement broken, because her fiancé accused her of being promiscuous and infidel, staying “unaccompanied” with another man. He didn’t even think that Aziz was there exactly for that reason: to protect the lady and her older friend. Even that girl, despite trying to be polite and friendly, asks so uncomfortable questions that they make Aziz leave her alone for a while to think it over and cope with embarrassment. Later she misinterprets the intention of Aziz horribly, thinking about the most possible variant (from the white point of view) and starting the humiliating trial that costs Aziz his reputation.

New Essays

A Passage to India

Mrs. Moore and Aziz meet in a mosque, where Aziz feels insulted and reprimands her for not taking her shoes off before entering. He does this because she is of the British background, and as a result a cultural barrier is formed between them. However, she passionately clears up the...

British Imperialism in Literature

By reevaluating a unique situation from a different perspective, one may find that there is a better understanding of the situation as a whole.  While British colonialism may often be evaluated through the perspective of the colonized, E.M. Forster and  George Orwell illustrate the...

A Passage to India Quotes with Page Number

“Adventures do occur, but not punctually.” — Page 145 — “Life never gives us what we want at the moment that we consider appropriate.” — — “Adventures do occur, but not punctually. Life rarely gives us what we want at the moment we consider appropriate.” — — “Most of life is so dull that there is...

Introduction to A Passage to India

Comment closely on ways in which Forster introduces the setting of the novel in the opening chapter. Forster introduces his novel to us through the setting. He describes Chandrapore as an impoverished city whose pain and low life is shielded by a romanticized view of its British inhabitants. He...

See all essays