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A Short Summary of "A Passage to India" Composed by EM Forster
“A Passage to India”, written by E.M. Forster, depicts the relations between the English and the native Indians during the colonial period in which Britain ruled India. The novel takes place mainly in Chandrapore, a city along the Ganges River famous for the nearby Marabar caves.
Dr. Aziz had been summoned to the Civil Surgeon’s house while he was taking his dinner with friends. When he reached the officer’s house he found that the latter had left his home for club without leaving a message for him. No sooner he was thinking of going back, two English women emerged from the house and departed in his hired house, showing no concern with Dr. Aziz.Thus the two incidents snubbed Dr. Aziz that evening.
On his way to home he went to a mosque to rest. There, his eyes caught a glimpse of an old English lady, Mrs Moore. Dr. Aziz furiously asked her to take her shoes off in the mosque. In fact Mrs. Moore had come barefoot to the mosque. Finding her to be sympathetic and kind, Dr. Aziz engaged with her in conversation.
Mrs. Moore talks to him in a friendly manner, telling him that she is in India to visit her son Ronny Heaslop, the City Magistrate. She disapproves the typical behaviour of English people to the native Indians. This incited Dr. Aziz to tell her about the usurpation of his carriage by Civil Surgeon’s wife.
Miss Adela Quested, Ronny’s prospective fiancée says that she wanted to see the real India, not the India which came to her through the influential atmosphere of British colony. To please her, an English officer decides to arrange a party and names it “Bridge Party.”
The so called “bridge party” was completely failed to meet its purpose because the English people retained a particular gap in the party and did not bother to interact with the native guests. Both the ruling class and the ruled class were entertained at opposite sides.
The only promising result of the party was that the Principal of the Government College, Mr. Fielding, invited Adela and Mrs. Moore at his house on a tea party. Mr. Fielding is the only English person who does not look down at Indians just because they were black and inferior to the English colonizers. He arranged this party after he felt that the gap between English and Indians had not been bridged in the party as supposed previously.
At the tea part, Fielding had also invited Professor Godbole and Dr. Aziz. They were all talking about multiple issue in a friendly manner when Ronny Heaslop interrupted them and caused breaking up of the party. Here Dr. Aziz became a little bit rude to Ronny on his priggish and suspicious behaviour.
Irritated by his behaviour, Adela told him that she does not want to marry him but before the evening was over she changed her decision. During the course of a drive in the Indian countryside, a mysterious animal loomed out of the dark and bitterly shaken the car in which they were riding. At this moment Adela asked Ronny to ignore her earlier refusal.
In response to an invitation given by Dr. Aziz, Mrs. Moore and Adela accepted the offer of Dr. Aziz to escort them to the Marabar Caves, the mysterious place in the city of Chandrapore. Entering in one of the caves, Mrs Moore noticed that no matter what was said the walls returned only a long, booming and hollow echo. She takes it as a spiritual experience and realized that there was no difference between human races, religions and even between good and bad. It is so because the ultimate truth is that everything is the creature of one God. Then how can the difference exist in the world.
She left Adela with Dr. Aziz and did not accompany them to the next caves. Adela entered a cave alone and a few minutes later rushed out terrified, saying that Dr. Aziz tried to assault her. Dr. Aziz was arrested when he along with Fielding returned back to the city.
The division between the natives and the British increased further during the trial of Dr. Aziz. The trial drew a distinct line between the two classes. Mrs. Moore told her son that she entrusted Dr. Aziz and did not think that he could involve in the alleged crime. On this disclosure, Ronny advised her mother to go back to England. Fielding was also criticized by the English community when he assisted Dr. Aziz and expressed his rational opinion that Dr. Aziz could not be involved in the crime without sufficient evidence.
However, the trial was concluded when Adela withdrew her case against Dr. Aziz. The English people did not approve Adela’s courageous act and said she crossed the line. Ronny also declared that he could no longer be associated with her. After it, she accepted Fielding’s hospitality for a few days and finally returned back to England.
Two years after the trial, Dr. Aziz started working as a court physician of an aged Hindu potentate who passed away on the night of the Krishna festival. On the other hand, Fielding had married with Mrs. Moore’s daughter, Stella. He visited Dr. Aziz but the latter showed cold shoulder on his arrival assuming Fielding had married Adela Quested. However, when he came to know that it was Stella, not Adela, whom Fielding had married, he felt more embarrassed at his mistake.
Finally, Dr. Aziz and Fielding went riding through jungles. Now the misunderstanding between them had been cleared up. Both belonged to different traces, which could not unite them into the bond of friendship. The rocks which suddenly reared up before them were symbolic of the different paths they would travel from henceforth. The affection of two men was not sufficient to bridge the gap between their races.
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