A Clash of Cultures in A Passage To India

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A Passage To India is a classic example of how different cultures, when forced to intermix, misunderstand each other, and what consequences stem from those misunderstandings. All of Forster's greatest works deal with the failure of humans being able to communicate satisfactorily, and their failure to eliminate prejudice to establish possible relationships. A Passage To India is no exception. (Riley, Moore 107)

To understand Forster's motive, it must be established that he is a humanistic writer. Harry T. Moore states "Of all imaginative works in English in this century, Forster's stand highest among those which may properly be called humanistic." (Riley, Moore 107) His main belief is that individual human beings fail to connect because the humanistic virtues, tolerance, good temper, and sympathy are ineffective in this world of religious and racial persecution. However, he also believes that personal relationships aan succeed, provided they are not publicly exposed, because values and noble impulses do exist within human nature. "Life is not a failure but a tragedy principally because it is difficult to translate private decencies into public ones." (Riley, McDowell 108)

Forster is conscious of the evil that exists in human nature. Forster feels men do not know enough to control that evil, and he takes on the humanistic responsibility to secure internal and external order by utilizing reason. f orster depended on the individual's conscience and sense of identification with others as equal components of the human race as his basis for maintaining that order. He also gives the individual social, political and metaphysical worth, and favors the individual when in conflict with society. (Riley, McDowell 108) It is fo...

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...ia University Press, 1979.

Riley, Carolyn, ed., Contemporary Literary Criticism. 4. Detroit, Michigan: Gale Research, 1975.

Bradbury, Malcolm, "E. M. Forster as Victorian And Modern: 'Howard's End' and 'A Passage To India',"

Possibilities: Essays on the State of the Novel (1973 by Malcolm Bradbury; reprinted by permission of Oxford University Press), Oxford University Press, 1973.

Riley, Carolyn, ed., Contemporary Literary Criticism. 3. Detroit, Michigan: Gale Research, 1975.

Johnstone, J. K., "E. M. Forster (1879-1970)"" The Politics of Twentieth Century Novelists, edited by George

A. Panichas (reprinted by permission of Hawthorn Books; 1971 by the University of Maryland;) Hawthorn, 1971.

Riley, Carolyn, ed., Contemporary Literary Criticism. 1. Detroit, Michigan: Gale Research, 1973.

McDowell, E. M. Forster, Twayne, 1969.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that forster was inspired to write a passage to india during a visit to india in 1912-13 where he began to observe the indian society and the anglo-indians governing them.
  • Analyzes how a passage to india had a strong political impact on british imperial politics. the distasteful picture painted of india and the indecent treatment of the indians by the anglo-indians strenghened their views against the empire.
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