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A Passage to India

E. M. Forster


Key Facts

Key Facts

full title  · A Passage to India

author  · E.M. Forster

type of work  · Novel

genre  · Modernist novel; psychological novel

language  · English

time and place written  · 1912–1924; India, England

date of first publication  · 1924

publisher · Edward Arnold

narrator  · Forster uses an unnamed third-person narrator

point of view  · The third-person narrator is omniscient, attuned both to the physical world and the inner states of the characters

tone  · Forster’s tone is often poetic and sometimes ironic or philosophical

tense  · Immediate past

setting (time)  · 1910s or 1920s

setting (place)  · India, specifically the cities of Chandrapore and Mau

protagonist  · Dr. Aziz

major conflict  · Adela Quested accuses Dr. Aziz of attempting to sexually assault her in one of the Marabar Caves. Aziz suspects Fielding has plotted against him with the English.

rising action  · Adela Quested and Mrs. Moore’s arrival in India; the women’s befriending of Aziz; Adela’s reluctant engagement to Ronny Heaslop; Ronny and the other Englishmen’s disapproval of the women’s interaction with Indians; Aziz’s organization of an outing to the Marabar Caves for his English friends; Adela’s and Mrs. Moore’s harrowing experiences in the caves; Adela’s public insinuation that Aziz assaulted her in the caves; the inflammation of racial tensions between the Indians and English in Chandrapore

climax  · Aziz’s trial; Adela’s final admission that she is mistaken in her accusations and that Aziz is innocent; the courtroom’s eruption; Aziz’s release; the English community’s rejection of Adela

falling action  · Fielding’s conversations with Adela; Fielding and Aziz’s bickering over Aziz’s desire for reparations from Adela; Aziz’s assumption that Fielding has betrayed him and will marry Adela; Aziz’s increasingly anti-British sentiment; Fielding’s visit to Aziz with his new wife, Stella; Aziz’s befriending of Ralph and forgiveness of Fielding

themes  · The difficulty of English-Indian friendship; the unity of all living things; the “muddle” of India; the negligence of British colonial government

motifs  · The echo; Eastern and Western architecture; Godbole’s song

symbols  · The Marabar Caves; the green bird; the wasp

foreshadowing  · Adela’s concern about breaking down during the trial; Fielding’s interest in Hinduism at the end of Part II

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