A Passage to India entails various social criticisms and political matters that are among the human race. The setting of the story takes place in India where the British have colonized the city of Chandrapore. The British had no respect for the native culture and race that inhabit this region even thought they were the original inhabitants. Miss Quested and Mrs. Moore begin their passage to India in order to attend the marriage of Miss Quested. Miss Quested plans on being united in marriage with Mrs. Moores son Ronny Heaslop. Excitement abounds the two women on their new adventure.
Their first night in India, Ronny Heaslop takes Mrs. Moore and Miss Quested to the Club. This club is a private club for the British intellect only. Much like our modern day golf clubs that are members only. Mrs. Moore leaves the club and meets Dr. Aziz at the mosque. They immediately become friends. It is almost like they had met in another life or realm. They felt at ease with one another and had many things in common. While their commonalties may bring them together, their race and background only tear them apart. Dr. Aziz explains to Mrs. Moore that the British should not be seen with the Indians.
Dr. Aziz is an Indian and Mrs. Moore is British. This was as well true during the 1960s Civil Rights movement between the black and white races. Although Mrs. Moore is confused greatly with the fact that the British cannot accept the natives in their own country, she and Miss Quested want to experience India first hand. The real India. It was obvious that Mrs. Moore and Miss Quested were quite unbiased toward the Indians and their country but intrigued by the differences of the cultures and races. Thus began their passage into India. Not to far along, a party is planned for Mrs. Moore and Miss Quested.
A few native Indians are invited. The party turns out to be a flop. The British and the natives separate themselves from each other and nobody communicates to one-another. Similar to the small dances we use to have as kids. The girls would sit on one side of the room and the boys on the other and no one with enough courage to ask the opposite sex to dance. Shortly after this disastrous party, Dr. Fielding, principal of the College, invites the ladies to his house for tea. Mrs. Moore and Miss Quested insist Dr. Aziz and Professor Godbole attend. The small intimate party is successful. Both cultures came together.
It brought joy to Dr. Aziz that he was able to find unity with the British. With the positive results of this first encounter of the two different cultures, Dr. Aziz believed that only more good things could come of the integration. He invited the entire group to a trip to the Marabar Caves where he could show the British a bit of his culture. It was the first step in a long road of multi-cultural society. Even today we still see effects of a multi-cultural society. We are a society that continues to forge into tomorrow admiring other cultures and trying to find commonalties amongst the differences.
We find Dr. Aziz going quite out of his way to plan the trip to the caves. He is very excited about entertaining the British ladies. I believe he thought this trip would lead to a great friend ship and some how join the two races all-be-it a small step. On their way to the caves, the train passes a raging river, the river that divides the two nationalities. Almost like passing from one country or space into another. This is the river that divides, the river that keeps the differences apart and separates cultures. We still have these types of symbols today.
Take for instance rivers that still serve as the divide between one state and another. Once in the caves, Mrs. Moore becomes terrified with the futility the cave presents. I think she sees a little of this in herself. She came seeking peace but now it is almost like nothing matters anymore. Does she feel that her efforts toward social harmony are futile or maybe her life is nothing but a futile journey? When Miss Quested disappears in a cave, the trip comes to a screeching halt. Dr. Aziz found himself quite concerned. She was frantic and felt the need to escape the emptiness of the caves.
She hurries back to town and accuses Dr. Aziz of sexually assaulting her. I believe Miss Quested was nave and Too British to unite with the natives. Maybe as she walked through the nothingness of the caves she was able to focus more on the fact of the nationality of the person guiding her and came to the realization that it wasnt a place or time where she wanted to be. The comfort of the moment scared her and she didnt know what to do. Her blank mind craved interesting and romantic thoughts of what could have happened.
She was seeking love and Dr. Aziz was the only one around to fill her thoughts and desires. There was only one problem, or at least a problem in her mind, Dr. Aziz was Indian and she was British. Later Miss Quested denies the accusations. The end of the trial only brings the monsoon rains. This rain symbolizes the separation between the two races. Shortly after everyone goes his or her separate ways. Dr. Aziz moves far deep into India away from the British. Dr. Fielding takes Miss Quested back to England and Mrs. Moore dies at sea on her way home. Dr. Fielding later writes to Dr. Aziz but Dr. Aziz refuses to read his letters.
He believes Dr. Fielding married Miss Quested. Years later, when Dr. Fielding returns to India to visit Professor Godbole and Dr. Aziz, Dr. Aziz finds out that Fielding didnt marry Miss Quested. He married Stella, Mrs. Moores daughter. At this point Dr. Aziz feels ashamed that he betrayed a friend but still could not trust the British. He and Dr. Fielding had grown apart in both friendship and distance. They were both aware of their different races and cultures, and were not quite sure how to bridge the gap. There was no bridge over their raging river of differences.