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Quote 4

“Your emotions never seem in proportion to their objects, Aziz.”
“Is emotion a sack of potatoes, so much the pound, to be measured out? Am I a machine?”

This exchange occurs in Chapter XXVII, as Aziz and Fielding’s relationship begins to break down in the face of Fielding’s new respect and advocacy for Adela. Though Aziz and Fielding have several misunderstandings during this time, their main conflict centers on the issue of reparation money from Adela. Aziz seeks damages from Adela in the aftermath of the trial, but Fielding believes that Adela should be given some credit for her bravery, rather than ruined financially. Fielding points out that Aziz loves Mrs. Moore, who has done nothing for Aziz, but begrudges Adela even after she has risked her own reputation and marriage to eventually pronounce Aziz innocent. Aziz and Fielding’s disagreement over this issue demonstrates the larger disparity between their worldviews. Fielding, who values logic and reason, sees Aziz as fickle and irrational because he bases his feelings on intuitions and connections that Fielding cannot see or understand. Aziz, conversely, sees Fielding as succumbing to the materialism and literalism of the rest of the English. The two men often have lively conversations, but this quotation shows one new trend in their discussions: they directly disagree with each other and say so. Notably, Fielding is often the one who initially expresses dissatisfaction with Aziz’s behavior or opinions. Fielding becomes more judgmental and less patient in the aftermath of the trial.

This quotation also highlights the larger issue of British rule over India. Britain’s control of India began initially as a capitalist venture with the British East India Company. As such, Britain appears to see itself as taking the muddle and inefficiency of India and turning it into an orderly, profitable, capitalist system. Aziz objects to this kind of materialism, believing it values profit and efficiency over intangible matters of spirit and love.