A Passage To India Essay Research Paper
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A Passage To India Essay, Research Paper Cultural Misunderstanding in Forster?s A Passage to India In his novel A Passage to India, Forster uses a series of repeated misunderstandings between cultures, which become hardened into social stereotypes, to justify the uselessness of attempts to bridge cultural gulfs. In many instances, the way in which language is used plays a great role in the miscommunication between the English and the Indians, as well as among people of the same culture. This is exemplified in the way in which people use the same words, but do not hear the same meaning. It is also displayed through the British characters Aziz meets and befriends, through a series of invitations and through time and true mistakes. Upon Meeting the British: Two significant instances of miscommunication occur when Aziz meets the British characters in the novel that will end up being very close, yet controversial friends. Upon his encountering Mrs. Moore at the Mosque, he sees a British woman and right away develops a series of misconceptions about her. He believes that she is like all other British women (bring up conversation on women being alike): ?Madam, this is a mosque, you have no right here at all; you should have taken off your shoes; this is a holy place for Moslems.? ?I have taken them off.? ?You have?? ?I left them at the entrance.? ?Then I ask your pardon. I am truly sorry for speaking.? ?Yes, I was right, was I not? If I remove my shoes, I am allowed?? ?Of course, but so few ladies take the trouble, especially if thinking no one is there to see? (18). What Aziz finds is the unexpected fact that she is like Aziz in many ways, or as he describes her, ?Oriental? (21). Yet, when seeing this side of the British woman, he again breaks his connection with her when she speaks of her son: ?And why ever do you come to Chandrapore?? ?To visit my son. He is the City Magistrate here.? ?Oh no, excuse me, that is quite impossible. Our City Magistrate?s name is Mr. Heaslop. I know him intimately.? ?He?s my son all the same,? she said smiling, (19). It does not occur to Aziz that Mrs. Moore?s son may be part of the Indian race. It is something that is not understandable at first. Another British character that Aziz makes a connection with is Mr. Fielding. When Aziz arrives at Fielding?s home to meet him for the first time, he has the same type of miscommunication that he does with Mrs. Moore, yet is is displayed in an opposite manner: ?Lifting up his voice, he shouted from the bedroom, ?Please make yourself at home.? The remark was unpremeditated, like most of his actions; it was what he felt inclined to say. To Aziz it had a very different meaning? (66). Aziz understands Fielding?s remark as a warm invitation, whereas Fielding has a routine of making the remark. People Saying One Thing and meaning another, usually just to be polite: A. Invitations The matter of invitations in the novel creates a cultural misunderstanding between the Indians and the British in the sense that the Indians make invitations just to be polite, which the British take literally. This causes offense in some cases to the British involved, whereas the Indians see it as a normal part of their society. This is first apparent at the Bridge Party, where Adela and Mrs. Moore are introduced to Mrs. Bhattacharya: When they took their leave, Mrs. Moore had an impulse, and said to Mrs. Bhattacharya, whose face she liked, ?I wonder whether you would allow us to call on you some day.? ?When?? she replied, inclining charmingly. ?Whenever is convenient.? ?All days are convenient.? ?Thursday?? ?Most certainly.?? ?What about the time?? ?All hours.? ?Tell us which you would prefer.? Mrs. Bhattacharya seemed not to know either. Her gesture implied that she had known, since Thursdays began, that English ladies would come to see her on one of them, and so always stayed in. Everything pleased her, nothing surprised.