What is a symbol? A Symbol represents an idea or another object. A symbol can have multiple meanings depending of the person. In How to Read Like a Professor Foster explains symbols in depth in chapter twelve “Is That a symbol?”. Foster says that if a symbol only has one meaning than it ceases to be a symbol. The reader 's background and experiences decide on what a symbol means to them and only them. In E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India one can find many examples of symbolism. However, symbolism used to express Hinduism is the most prevalent. Hindus believe that all living things are equal and that there is unity in all life. Forster uses a wasp, the marabar caves, and a Hindu festival to portray the Hindu concept of unity through symbolism.
Many people are scared of wasps and more often than not we kill them. However, in theory Hindus aren’t suppose to kill any sort of living things. A wasps is only a bug but Hindus believe that there is purpose in everything. In A Passage to India a wasp keeps appearing but it’s never killed even the English never kill it. Upon landing in India Mrs.Moore has an interaction with a wasp. It’s an interaction because she instantly feels an attachment to it. “She had known this wasp or his relatives by day; they were not as English wasps, but had long yellow legs which hung down behind when they flew.”( Forster, 34). Mrs.Moore believes that they are different from English wasp because of physical features but it’s more than just that. She sees the difference unconsciously and believes that the wasps are more than just a bug in India. Hence, she didn’t freak out or try to kill the wasp. Likewise, Mr.Sorley has a similar opinion about wasps despite being a Christia...
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... by race or by religion. Aziz now has a friend that is English and a one that is Hindu. Aziz is accepting and infact exercising the Hindu concept of unity. Through all of this the Hindu festival was always in the background. Forsters implies that the positive energy of the festival has led all to believe in unity.
Forster gained his greatest success through A Passage to India. Mainly because the novel has an ability to speak differently to everyone. Forster’s use of literary techniques allows readers to interpret the meaning in so many ways. Symbolism is frequently used in the novel. One of the main uses of symbolism was to represent Hinduism more importantly the Hindu concept of unity. He uses symbolism to show the relationship between a wasp and an old christian lady, to show how overanalyzing unity and equality can be baffling, and to express the power of unity.
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