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

Throughout July's People and A Passage to India a gulf in understanding between the colonisers and the colonised peoples is obvious. Demonstrate the ways in which the respective authors convey this separation through the texts.

Extracts from this document...


COLONIAL AND POST-COLONIAL LITERATURE - ENGL 353. Throughout July's People and A Passage to India a gulf in understanding between the colonisers and the colonised peoples is obvious. Demonstrate the ways in which the respective authors convey this separation through the texts. The two novels that will be looked at in this essay are written from the coloniser's perspective and tell of the divide between the white imperial power and the colonised peoples. A Passage to India was first published in 1924 and was written whilst the British still had colonial domination over India. The story tells of the difficulties in relations between the white settlers and the native Indians and the separation between the two cultures is evident throughout the novel. Similarly, July's People explores the same problems in relationships, although set in a different environment and political climate. Written in 1981 during the apartheid state, the book anticipates the rupture of "white" society in the increasingly inevitable black rebellion. Both novels explore the theme of friendship in great detail and it is through the depiction of the personal relations between the characters, that the ideology of colonisation is expressed. This can be seen particularly clearly in A Passage to India, and when Burra claims that "the real theme of the book [is] the friendship of Fielding and Dr Aziz"1, it can be seen that this friendship is crucial to the understanding of the novel in a colonial sense. The relationship between the English schoolmaster and the Muslim Indian is fundamentally symbolic of the problematic relation of the British Empire and India. Although the pair manage to become good friends, there is always a degree of tension between them and this is illustrated when Aziz will not let Fielding beyond the threshold of his room. There is, in a sense, an invisible barrier between them and Aziz recognises this divide, highlighted through their differing loyalties: '[Fielding] had nothing to lose. ...read more.


On the surface, they use terminology to express the inability for the other native group to be able to understand. In July's People this is particularly evident through the broken English used by the black characters. The opening line of the book captures the difficulties of understanding that grow between the races throughout the novel: 'You like to have some cup of tea?- July bent at the doorway and began that day for them as his kind has always done for their kind.' July's English is pidgin and limited and we learn that Maureen has spent fifteen years using 'very simple, concrete vocabulary' (72) with him. This fundamental difference in language will inevitably cause communication problems and it is from this lack of interaction that the deficiency in understanding of one another's culture stems. Gordimer also incorporates Afrikaans speech in the novel: ' - he called up to the man on the roof in the way his people did, teasing and encouraging, the first part of what he said gabbled and rapid, the syllables of the last word strongly divided and drawn out, the word itself repeated. Mi ta twa ku nandziha ngopfu, swi famba a moyeni. Ncino wa maguva lawa, hey-i...hey-i!' (141) The presence of this in the novel highlights to the reader the division between the whites and the blacks - the visual presence of this unknown language on the page drives home the communication problems present in the mixed community. In a similar way Forster incorporates some Indian words into the text, when there is no suitable English words to describe the Indian feature. For instance, he refers to the 'Bhil,' which is a word used to describe a member of a Central Indian people consisting mainly of aboriginal hunting tribes and uses the term 'Nawab,' which is an Indian title of nobility. The fact that such words do not exist in English, or do not have a precise translation, is indicative of the gulf in cultures between the Indians and the whites and, naturally, this goes some way towards explaining the lack of understanding between the races. ...read more.


Dover acknowledges this fact: 'Forster, from the self-confessed perspective of the enlightened Western visitor, suggests that the Caves themselves are symbolic of the..."otherness" of India itself: complex, ungovernable, bewildering, enigmatic...'11 Therefore, although Forster does see himself as being 'enlightened', his paranormal and mysterious portrayal of the caves suggests that he encountered difficulties in both understanding and expressing the Indian culture to his white readers. He has been successful in so far as he has captured the different cultures, but he has not necessarily done this in a non-biased way - the supernatural element of the caves point towards him seeing India and therefore its people as 'the other'- 'that which is unfamiliar and extraneous to a dominant subjectivity.'12 Therefore, the effect produced by the two authors can be viewed in two distinct manners. The first is that they are deliberately portraying the separation and lack of understanding between the two cultures and, as such, are being actively reproachful of this and the second is that the lack of understanding that is conveyed in the novels is representative of their own inability to relate to the other ethnic group. Many issues underlie this question, although it could be suggested that the benefit of the doubt aught to be given to the respective authors who are striving to represent the countries effectively and fairly, despite the problems explored such as the adequacy of the English language in conveying both India and black South Africa. In conclusion, in both of the texts the authors use many techniques in order to convey the lack of understanding between the imperialists and the colonised peoples in the respective countries. However, as both of the writers are members of that colonising group in effect, the extent to which this division was conveyed intentionally by the authors has to be questioned. Ironically, through reading the texts from a colonial perspective, it could be deemed that the apparent differences surface because of a real lack of understanding on the part of the authors themselves. ...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

    Investigating how language has changed in children's literature; in relation to interaction between ...

    5 star(s)

    except when Darrell is forming her first opinion of the teacher, "Yes, she liked her - she liked the way her eyes twinkled - but there was something very determined about her mouth". The use of dashes replaces the use of commas, and this gives an impression of an 'afterthought',

  2. Investigation into Gender Differences in the Language of Personal Profiles on Dating Websites

    I enjoy going out eating especially in nice country pubs. I love walking along watching the sunset whether it be along the beach or just anywhere. I love going out for a drink and a dance that is my ideal evening out.I do not like moody people as I enjoy

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

    The criticism of the land extends to the city: "The streets are mean, the temples ineffective, and although a few fine houses exist they are hidden away in gardens or down alleys whose filth deters all but the invited guest" (3)

  2. How does Arthur Miller use the character of Eddie to build tension in his ...

    What the audience see through Eddie is that our own prosperity and human actions and reactions can cause harm. Miller introduces a sense of tension through Alfieri's opening speech, he gives background information of what is going to happen so the audience are familiarised with the surrounding before the play actually begins.

  1. The Dutch Attack on Landguard Fort - 2nd July 1667

    Source F contradicts source B by saying that the Dutch ships could not get nearer to the shore on account of the shallowness of the water, so their shots could scarcely reach the fort." Source F also continues to say "On rowing to van Nes, the pilot declared that all

  2. Creative writing and commentary. It was the year 2015 and Earth was exploring ...

    want to keep you safe" A few minutes later the pod landed on Earth, it opened up and they got out, they were about a mile away from the house so they had to walk there. Ramani took Rachel's hand again and they started walking.

  1. Refer closely to the literary and non-literary texts you have studied. Explore how gender ...

    And again he saith, Let the wife see she reverence her husband.' 'ye wives, be in subjection to you own husbands...meek and quiet spirit'. The long explanation for women is almost presuming that she is more likely to do wrong.

  2. Defensive features of Beaumaris Castle

    the building in front of us, and we are dying of thirst by now and it's late evening; we can get another 20 men up here at best before nightfall. So what next? We're committed now. We either have to go on or retreat permanently, and there's no money to

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