A Passage to India by E.M. Forster

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A Passage to India by E.M. Forster In E.M. Forster's novel A Passage to India, characters often seem grouped into one of two opposing camps: Anglo-Indian or native Indian. All the traditional stereotypes apply, and the reader is hard pressed to separate the character from his or her racial and ethnic background. Without his "Britishness", for instance, Ronny disappears. However, a few characters are developed to the point that they transcend these categories, and must be viewed as people in their own right. Perhaps the most interesting of these is Mrs. Moore. Not only do ethnic boundaries not usually apply to her, but these divisions often blur in her case. Mrs. Moore straddles the line between conventional East and West in a number of different ways, and in some cases leaves both behind completely. From her very first appearance in the book, Mrs. Moore is an atypical Westerner. The only impressions of Anglos that the reader has yet gathered are the complaints of Hamidullah and his friends at the dinner party, Major Callendar's abrupt summons of Dr. Aziz and the rudeness of Mrs. Callendar and Mrs. Lesley. Mrs. Moore materializes from nothing in the dark mosque, an apparition in a place where no whites ever bother to visit. She has respected the native customs by removing her shoes, and startles both Dr. Aziz and the reader by calmly explaining "God is here" (20). Right from her introduction, she is clearly not the average Englishwoman, and goes on to have a meaningful conversation with Aziz. Her considerate behavior might at first appear to be mere ignorance of local standards or inexperience in India, but in her subsequent conversations, Mrs. Moore demonstrates that she holds an entirely different view on life than Ronny an... ... middle of paper ... ...s. Moore has arrived at an absolute extreme that no-one else in the book (English or Indian) can attain. Godbole and Adela have both heard the echo, but either could not or would not absorb its full impact. It is fitting that Esmiss Esmoor becomes a legend to be periodically revived in Chandrapur. Throughout the book, she is described with an aura of otherworldiness -- she is East, she is West, she is something else entirely. She even dies at sea, in transit between the two worlds, giving the sense that her spirit still wanders back and forth. Mrs. Moore journeys between eternity and transience, society and universal humanity, the petty reality of an old lady and the immense reality of a world without end and without meaning, and in the end escapes all of them. Works Cited 1) Forster, E.M. A Passage to India. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich: New York. 1924.
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