A Passage to India

Summary

Part I, Chapters VII–VIII

Summary Part I, Chapters VII–VIII

Before the ladies leave, Godbole sings an odd-sounding Hindu song in which the singer asks God to come to her, but God refuses.

In her ignorance, [Adela] regarded [Aziz] as “India,” and never surmised that his outlook was limited and his method inaccurate, and that no one is India.

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Summary: Chapter VIII

Driving away from Fielding’s, Adela expresses annoyance at Ronny’s rudeness. Adela mentions Aziz’s invitation to the Marabar Caves, but Ronny immediately forbids the women to go. Ronny mentions Aziz’s unpinned collar as an example of Indians’ general inattention to detail. Mrs. Moore, tired of bickering, asks to be dropped off at home. Adela feels suddenly ashamed of telling those at the tea party of her intention to leave India.

After the polo match at the club, Adela quietly tells Ronny that she has decided not to marry him. Ronny is disappointed, but he agrees to remain friends with her. Adela sees a green bird and asks Ronny what type of bird it is. Ronny does not know, which confirms Adela’s feeling that nothing in India is identifiable. Ronny and Adela begin to feel lonely and useless in their surroundings; they suddenly feel they share more similarities than differences.

The Nawab Bahadur happens by and offers Ronny and Adela a ride in his automobile. Riding in the back seat, the two feel dwarfed by the dark night and expansive landscape surrounding them. Their hands accidentally touch, and they feel an animalistic thrill. The car mysteriously breaks down on a road outside the city. They all climb out and determine that the car must have hit something, probably a hyena. After a short while, Miss Derek drives past them offers them a ride back to Chandrapore.

Driving back to Chandrapore, Miss Derek jokes about her employer, an Indian noblewoman. Ronny and Adela feel drawn together by their shared distaste for Miss Derek’s crass manner and for the Nawab’s polite but long-winded speeches. When Adela and Ronny arrive back at the bungalow, Adela says that she would like to marry Ronny after all. He agrees. Adela, however, immediately feels a sense of disappointment, believing she will now be labeled the same as all the other married Englishwomen in India. They go inside and tell Mrs. Moore of their plans. Adela begins to feel more pleasant, joining Ronny in poking fun at the Nawab Bahadur. When Ronny and Adela tell Mrs. Moore of the strange car accident, the older woman shivers and claims that the car must have hit a “ghost.”

Meanwhile, down in the city of Chandrapore, the Nawab Bahadur describes the accident to others. He explains that it took place near the site where he ran over and killed a drunken man nine years ago. The Nawab Bahadur insists that the dead man caused the accident that occurred this evening. Aziz is skeptical, however, and feels that Indians should not be so superstitious.