• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
Page
  1. 1
    1
  2. 2
    2
  3. 3
    3
  4. 4
    4
  5. 5
    5
  6. 6
    6
  7. 7
    7
  8. 8
    8
  9. 9
    9
  10. 10
    10
  11. 11
    11
  12. 12
    12
  13. 13
    13
  14. 14
    14
  15. 15
    15
  16. 16
    16

Culture Wars: Forster's A Passage To India

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Culture Wars: Forster's A Passage To India In this age of cross cultural considerations in everything from education to the design on Kleenex boxes, it is refreshing to find a novel that incorporates the issues inherent in a situation where cultures are necessarily brought together. E. M. Forster's A Passage To India, brings the art of narrative to the rescue of a subject that seems to have been beaten to death (perhaps because it continues) in the seventy-seven years since the book was published. The book is a study in cross cultural communication patterns set in a time when Imperialism made the subject a matter of class distinction, stereotypes, ignorance of norms and an attempt to bring the cultures together enough to have a peaceful interaction between the two. The story manages to keep the reader within the plot and subplots by manipulating the point of view. It is a subtle technique that reveals the core of the established conflicts. It is first and foremost a critique of the imperial disequalibrium that is sometimes known as justice and sometimes as oppression - depending on the point of view. Forster explores the meaning of the experience through cross-cultural friendship and an imperial legal crisis. In the end, the friendship, like the Imperialism that brought them together, continues - albeit on a make shakier foundation since the fundamental ethics of each side had been questioned and found to be less than perfect, thus making it difficult for the two cultures to comprehend each other and fuse. In A Passage to India, Forster demonstrates how a lack of ethics, cultural similarity, and cultural understanding on both sides, British and Indian, causes a failure of the cultures to connect and maintain steady communication. The book is divided into three sections, Mosque, Caves, and Temple, which correspond to the tempo of the book (and the weather in the setting) ...read more.

Middle

Nothing sanitary" (62). Aziz has generalized from his one acquaintance to the entire population of Hindus. His disregard for Hindus continues throughout the book. "I wish they did not remind me of cow-dung," Aziz thinks of a Hindu interlocutor, who in turn thinks of him, "Some Moslems are very violent" (256). The racial prejudices and stereotypes in Forster's novel cross all of the boundaries and are interrelated as well. Thus, by stereotyping across and between the cultures, the British and the Indians are keeping the facts at a distance, which makes connection very difficult because of the lack of truth involved with generalizations. Another reason the British and Indians have a hard time connecting is because each culture misunderstands the other. A certain number of cultural blunders is to be expected in any situation where two very different sets of people come together. Perhaps the difference in the book and in the situation of Imperialistic rule, is that one does not attempt even to learn the cultural traits of the other. The British, for example, seem oblivious to the fact that the Indians have a thriving culture, complete with norms that are felt to be of extreme importance. Without respect for the Indian culture, which creates a lack of understanding, there is little hope for the British and Indians to communicate and connect without mishaps. For instance, when Aziz and Hamidullah go to dinner, Aziz receives a note summoning him to the home of Major Callendar, his superior at the hospital. He is upset because the Major did not have the courtesy to explain what it is he needs - merely orders Aziz to appear. Once he finally arrives, he finds that the Colonel has left without providing instructions. Other than the obvious blatant disregard of general polite behavior, this also breeches the cultural norm of Indian individualism. Because it is on a personal level, there is little consequence outside of the indignation that is felt by Aziz and a later confrontation between the two men. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, it must be noted that although the class distinctions in Indian society are mentioned in the book, none of the Indian characters is a member of the lower classes which may have been the most traumatized by British rule. However, obviously, the two cultures view British rule very differently, thus further distancing the cultures. Time is also very different for the Indian than for the British. There is a need within the British culture of the book to rush the events, to 'get things done' that is not seen in the Indian way of reacting. The trial, for instance, takes place immediately. The summons to Aziz requests his presence immediately. Mrs. Moore and Adela want the Indians to respond to them immediately. While understanding that this is a British cultural element, the Indians do not seem to be in as much as a rush. For example, when Aziz and his friend meet for dinner they manage to take a walk, talk to the women in Hamidullah's household and share conversation before they are actually seated for dinner. The differences in thinking are also numerous. One example would be the reaction of the British to Indian art and music. The British guests at the tea do not appreciate the singing in the same way that the Indians do - neither the music itself or the lyrics. This is seen in several instances in the book, including at the Hindu festival at the end. Thus, a lack of understanding of thinking between the two cultures is another reason why the two cultures have problems connecting. The interaction between cultures can be seen on many levels and in many different ways. E. M. Forster has provided a fictional narrative that employs many of the cultural variables between the British and the Indian ways of life in an effort to bring across the realization that the stereotypes, the reliance on power relationships, generalizations, and the lack of acceptance by the British of Indian cultural norms led to the inability of the two cultures to connect. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE History Projects 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 GCSE History Projects essays

  1. What were the causes of Indian Independencein 1947, and was partition inevitable?

    Hence the Indian education system would teach the pupils of the long and rich Indian history, which would instil nationalism in the youth for the next generation of freedom fighters for Indian independence. Even after the 1919 Government of India Act Indians were still given control of the education system,

  2. History: India Independence Coursework

    He was describing the situation in the Punjab. He says that groups of Sikhs had 'formed armed bands of considerable strength'. This shows that although the riots had started between the Hindus and Muslim, even the Sikhs were getting involved.

  1. Beliefs of the Plain Indians

    take part were ready for they had been fasting and purifying themselves in the sweat lodges, and praying.

  2. GUNPOWDER PLOT

    Source six is a list of facts about what happened and information about gunpowder at the time. Source six agrees with the 'Guy Fawkes' was framed' Theory this is shown because most of the facts imply that the government were involved in some way for example all gunpowder was kept

  1. How would you describe the emergence and meaning of Eurocentrism in relation to European ...

    (Pagner, 1995, p2). This second phase had a far-reaching and long lasting impact. These stages will now be examined and the reasons for European imperialism will be considered. The first phase began with the expansion of Europe in the fifteenth century.

  2. Site Study - Harbour Bridge

    Another dramatic example of change in land use would have to be Woolloomooloo. This area was inhabited by the Aboriginals until the British settlers took over.

  1. What Reasons Did The HSCA Have in 1979 for Suggesting That President Kennedy Was ...

    Zapruders film shows all the shots' impacts on the motorcade, and provided a great deal of evidence. First the motorcade is shown proceeding through Elm Street. The presidents car is obscured by a street sign, but when he emerges, it is possible to tell that he has been hit by

  2. Am I not a Man and a brother?

    or protest because he might whip Samuel as well as me if I protest. The overseer, then, to my surprise stop his whipping and warned me not to do that anymore or Master John might sell Samuel away. He told to case my feeding at once and goes back to work but whip me no further.

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