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

In A Passage to India the Marabar Hills and Caves possess a powerful symbolic force and resonance. Forster believed that they would have a central place in the novel. They were something to focus everything up. In light of this a

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

In A Passage to India the Marabar Hills and Caves possess a powerful symbolic force and resonance. Forster believed that they would have "a central place in the novel. They were something to focus everything up". In light of this assertion, examine the significance of the Marabar Caves. Forster's novel A Passage to India is based on his experiences of India during two visits he made: the first in 1912 during which he wrote the first seven chapters; the second in 1921 when he completed the novel. During the interim the First World War had taken place, which undoubtedly affected Forster's view on life and therefore the rest of the novel that includes the events in the Marabar Caves and the effects they have on the characters in the novel. After this war the Indians became more vocal about removing the British from India and resented them. India had been under British colonial rule for around one hundred and fifty years. It was during the latter part of the 19th century that a push was made by the Indians towards independence. As far as the British were concerned, the Indian people were an inferior race and should know their place in the British Empire. Forster was not a religious man; he believed in the importance of the human spirit and human relationships. His view, as he later expressed in 'Howard's End', was that human beings should "only connect." ...read more.

Middle

However, the idea of India as a muddle is seen by the Indians as a mystery. The word muddle suggests something hazardous, whereas mystery suggests something mystical perhaps caused by a spiritual force that is greater than man. Forster sets the scene for the events that take place in the caves early in the novel. Adela is "desirous of seeing the real India," and thus seeks out the Marabar caves. Gertrude M. White said, "The central episode of the entire novel is the experience of the two Englishwomen."6 Forster, metaphorically speaking, assaults the women with the caves in order to force a profound change in the mentality of both the women and the attitudes of the English and Indians. Near the start of the novel, Forster portrays Mrs. Moore as a devout Christian, both caring and kind. As mentioned earlier Forster had a philosophy of 'only connect' and in this novel, Mrs. Moore represents this idea, as she has no problem connecting to the country and the natives. Through her, he allows the reader to feel connected with the Indians and empathise with them. The Marabar caves, however, cause Mrs. Moore to feel disconnected with everything, which is a contradiction to this idea. Perhaps Forster was trying to demonstrate that the caves are so powerful that they cause disconnections. Mrs. Moore demonstrates this to Aziz when talking about Mrs. Callendar during their encounter in the mosque. ...read more.

Conclusion

Frederick C. Crews said, "The Marabar caves thrust to the surface a conflict between conventional and suppressed feelings"8. Subsequent to the Marabar caves outing, Adela's false accusation causes racial tensions to be thrust to the surface. Ultimately, it is this accusation, and thus the Marabar Caves, that leads to the trial that triggers an almost terminal breakdown between the British and Indians. In conclusion, the Marabar Caves play a significant role in shaping the events of the novel as well as symbolically representing many crucial aspects. They represent the nothingness of India; the futility of trying to build relationships between the British and Indians; and the mystery and muddle of India and its culture. They are also the tool that Forster uses to profoundly change the lives of the characters. They drive both people and cultures apart. It appears by the end of the novel that the Marabar Caves have triumphed. However, the novel does not end negatively as there is still hope for the future, which Forster suggests by the words "No Not Then." This impression of hope is enhanced by the symbol of the sky and the birth of Krishna. The Marabar caves are not going to rule forever. In the future, Indian and British cultures may be able to connect, but for the moment, it cannot happen. At the very end of the novel, both Fielding and Aziz meet for a final time on horseback. Fielding says, "Why can't we be friends now?" and Forster concludes, "But the horses didn't want it - they swerved apart... 'no, not yet,' and the sky said, 'no not there. ...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 Other Authors 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 Other Authors essays

  1. Critical analysis of the opening chapters of Waterland.

    to help the story progress, using Latin phrases such as, "Ipso facto" (Suggesting his knowledge is plentiful and that Lewis shouldn't actually fire him, as he's valuable to the school). Tom's only real admission of his own feelings is when he speaks of the "cuts" of the History Department (Him

  2. A Passage to India. How successful do you think the novel is in ...

    Forster had cleverly represented hostility and awareness that these Indians are feeling because of the British occupation of their homes and lands, with many beliefs by the British -even the author himself- thinking that this country is simply a muddle of culture that needs to be attended and "raised" by the westerners.

  1. Discuss the relationship between Keith and Stephen that is presented in the first Six ...

    did get bored and that being in Keith's company wasn't brilliant, even though Stephen made him out to be. Keith ordered Stephen to look for his mother and when they discussed that she was going to one of her rendezvous and them not knowing where Stephen suggested that 'it must

  2. Linda Burnell: Wife, mother, individual. In this passage, we see Mansfields recurring theme ...

    Having to put her children and her husband ahead of herself, Linda loses track of who she is and feels betrayed by the world when looking at her general lot.

  1. Explain how Hosseini sets out to make the reader side with Hassan and not ...

    "You know... I like where I live." - Hassan is happy being a servant to Amir and does not doubt it; the way that Hassan accepts his life, his future, with such a cheerful disposition, just fuels the readers' fondness of him and his likable personality is another way Hosseini makes the reader side with him.

  2. "'We Need to Talk About Kevin' presents us with unsympathetic characters who nevertheless attract ...

    I realise that Kevin doesn't experience his aversions as envy. To Kevin, all ten of his victims were supremely ridiculous. They each got excited over trifles, and their enthusiasms were comical. But like my wallpaper of maps, impenetrable passions have never made Kevin laugh.

  1. The Sound and the Fury. Faulkners application of certain diction for Benjy, Quentin ...

    Patterson's residence. This scene reminded Benjy of another time, when he went to deliver a letter to Mrs. Patterson himself, but his attempt was not successful in that the letter fell into the hands of Mr. Patterson. In the branch in 1928, when Luster tells Benjy to get into the

  2. In The Great Gatsby Fitzgerald creates a climactic confrontation in Chapter 7 between Gatsby ...

    The dream is finally shattered when Tom accuses him of being a ?common swindler who?d have to steal the ring he put on her finger? crushing Gatsby?s illusion by exposing his lower class status and criminal connections which have been hinted at in the preceding chapters.

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