He was even tender to the English; he knew at the bottom of his heart that they could not help being so cold and odd and circulating like an ice stream through his land.


Before Aziz’s life is changed by Adela’s mistaken accusation, Aziz is a person who attempts to feel goodwill toward others. In this passage, he names both Hindus and the English as people whom he can feel kindness toward, even if they have negatively affected his life or he cannot understand their religion and philosophies. This is not always true, as Aziz tends to oscillate between respecting Hindus like Godbole and suddenly being shockingly dismissive of them. By the end of the novel, Aziz has lost most of his tenderness toward Brits, although not entirely. He has, though, seemingly begun to make a concerted effort to be more tender toward Hindus, as he’s realized that Hindus and Muslims must work together if India is going to overthrow their colonial rulers.

Literature had always been a solace to him, something that the ugliness of facts could not spoil.

Aziz is a romantic at heart, and his imaginative and at times irrational personality is totally at odds with the dispassionate and logical personalities of Brits like Fielding and Adela. Literature speaks to Aziz’s soul, as it asserts that humans do possess valor, nobility, and goodness; Aziz needs the comfort of poetry to survive in a world that has seemingly lost these essential qualities. After Aziz’s trial, he is full of anger, confusion, and sorrow, and he begins to write his own poetry, using it as an outlet to explore subjects that he needs to work through, like the difficulties of British-Indian and Muslim-Hindu relationships, and the future of women’s rights in Islam.

I was a child when you knew me first. Everyone was my friend then.

By the end of the novel, Aziz no longer feels any innate affection or unification with other people. At different points in the book, Aziz claims to feel unity with and tenderness toward Hindus, Mrs. Moore and Adela, Fielding, and even the English people in general. But his wrongful arrest and corrupt trial embitters him toward the British. He compares his pre-arrest self with a child, too naive to see that befriending or believing in the English would only do him harm.