• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Colonial attitudes in "A Passage to India" by E. M. Forster.

Extracts from this document...


Colonial Attitudes in "A Passage to India" by E. M. Forster E. M. Forster critiques the colonial mentality in such a way in A Passage to India - the individual characters that constitute the system of colonialism in India are magnified and set as an example of this system. However, a magnifying lens often catches the light and reflects a ghostlike image of the observer over what is observed. So too does Forster's own prejudices and beliefs, rooted in the system of colonialism, appear omnipresent throughout the novel. While making a strong argument against colonialism, Forster is constantly reproducing a notion of the "other," the non-English, non-Western, the non-Forster that compromises the integrity of his novel. Forster's creation of the other begins with his perspectives of the physical India. "There is something hostile in the soil. It either yields, and the foot sinks into a depression, or else it is unexpectedly rigid and sharp, pressing stones or crystals against the tread" (Forster, A Passage to India, 16). By describing the land as hostile, Forster creates an antagonistic India, unfriendly to both native and foreigner. ...read more.


"...and Fielding often attempted analogies between this peninsula and that other, smaller and more exquisitely shaped, that stretches into the classic waters of the Mediterranean" (65). Reversing the metaphor Forster used previously, English rule settles everything. The Indian city can do little, only feeble outbursts of beauty. But when the English choose, glory can run into the Chandrapore economy or a benediction such as a Bridge Party is manufactured. The English can do this because they are so strong and enormous. "The sun never sets on the British Empire" and the English draw strength from this fact. The size is formed by the bent over forms of its subjected lands and peoples. While such an interpretation is directly opposed to Forster's message, he lays the foundation for such an interpretation with his physical descriptions and analogies. Of course, this is a small phrase and such elaboration may seem ludicrous. However, this phrase is repeated in sentiment throughout the novel. If the English are perceived as proper and the norm, the Indians, who are not English, must be improper and odd. ...read more.


Aziz's alienation and degradation is symptomatic of the alienation and degradation all Indians face in the novel, on both levels of plot and the level of reader/author discourse. Indians are physically weak in the novel. "Round they ran, weedy and knock-kneed - the local physique was wretched..." (59). Even the most educated of the Indians have "inferior and rough" intellects (114). They are incompetent and ridiculous at work, like "gardeners who were screaming at the birds" (74). With repeated descriptions of Indians, the reader wonders if colonialism should exist, if only to protect the average Indian from his own ignorance. After all, "There is no stay in your native. He blazes up over a minor point, and has nothing left for the crisis" (252). Forster also resorts to colonialism's dehumanization of subjected races. The Indians are often compared with animals. "[A]nd a crowd of dependents were swarming over the seats of the carriage like monkeys" (141). However, sometimes the comparison to monkeys is too good for the subjects. "Most of the inhabitants of India do not mind how India is governed. Nor are the lower animals of England concerned about England..."(123). "Most of the inhabitants" are no better then the "lower animals of England" is the implication. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Language: Context, Genre & Frameworks section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Language: Context, Genre & Frameworks essays

  1. Marked by a teacher


    3 star(s)

    Last, Roth used his novels to show Jewish children's experiences even though "You don't have to be Jewish to be vastly amused and touched and instructed by Portnoy's Complaint, though it helps." (Solotaroff 10). Helge Nilsen talked about how authors like Roth noticed changes to write about.

  2. Throughout July's People and A Passage to India a gulf in understanding between the ...

    However, it is not until we observe other characters in the novels that we come to realise why such divisions remain. In A Passage to India Forster creates characters who epitomise the arrogance of the colonising group. Rudyard Kipling captures the arrogant attitude of such people as she highlights their belief that they are undertaking 'the white man's burden.'

  1. Amitabh Bachan - Indian cinema.

    The illness was making him feel really weak mentally and physically, he then announced that he would quit film acting. He felt that he wouldn't be able to handle the release every Fridays, weather it was hit or not. After every film release of another actor he would say, 'yeh boley to, flop hogi!'

  2. Spelling- conservative or liberal in Scandinavia?

    The Scandinavian languages in general belong to the Scandinavian part of the Germanic subfamily of the Indo-European languages. Danish, like Swedish, Norwegian, and Icelandic, originally came from a common Scandinavian language. Many changes occurred in the parent language during the time of the Vikings (800-1050 ad).

  1. Analysis of the lizard peninsula

    The first sentence aims to be conclusive by saying 'the air is crisp and clear and completely unpolluted', the repetition of the 'c' sound accumulates the description and then makes the sentence conclusive due to the 'ed' at the end off 'unpolluted'.

  2. A Passage to India - A discussion of the opposing cultures and what divides ...

    In fact, although Ronny felt "angry and bruised" (90) by his dismissal, he refuses to show his pain because of pride, furthering the message of English emotional detachment. From a modern perspective, if Ronny loves Adela deeply, it would be unthinkable that he could let his pride keep him from pursuing her.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work