The majority of Part I has focused on developing the characters of Adela Quested and Mrs. Moore in relation to Aziz, to Ronny, and to their new surroundings. In these final sections of Part I, attention shifts somewhat to the character of Fielding, especially in terms of his relation to Aziz and to the rest of the English in Chandrapore. The development of Fielding’s relations begins to constitute a second plotline throughout the rest of the novel, moving in parallel to plot developments involving Adela and Mrs. Moore.
Though Fielding is generally on friendly terms with the English in Chandrapore, Fielding’s character presents a threat to the Englishmen because of his stance as an educator of individuals. The English fear that Indians become less obedient when they are better educated; indeed, the new ideas that Fielding fosters have the potential to undermine Britain’s rule over India. The English see Fielding as suspect because his model of education works through interaction, sitting down with individuals and exchanging ideas. This model treats Indians as separate, distinct individuals, rather than a homogeneous and easily stereotyped group. As such, it places even Fielding himself—a representative Englishman—in a position of vulnerability. While other English people present themselves as knowledgeable and dominant, Fielding lets himself play the role of learner as well as teacher.
As Fielding grows apart from the Englishmen at the club, he grows closer to Aziz. In these chapters we see Forster set up these two characters as the potentially successful answer to the question of whether an Indian can ever be friends with an Englishman. More than merely a cross-cultural bridge, the friendship between Fielding and Aziz seems to develop a homosocial undertone as well. Aspects of heterosexual interaction dominate Chapter XI—the photograph of Aziz’s wife, Aziz’s happy thoughts of visiting prostitutes, the men’s discussion of Adela’s qualities—but these marks of heterosexuality function as a means to develop and cement a homosocial (but not implicitly homosexual) connection between Fielding and Aziz. These heterosexual tokens, conversations, and thoughts are passed between the two men and serve primarily to strengthen their relationship—though women are the focus of the men’s conversation, women are effectively excluded, reduced to simply a medium of exchange between the men. Furthermore, we may interpret Fielding’s sentiments against marriage in Chapter XI as Forster’s own. The author implies that marriage shuts people off from educationally and emotionally fruitful relationships, such as the one that we see growing between Fielding and Aziz.