A Passage to India by E. M. Forster

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Assess A Passage to India as a postcolonial novel.

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Forster's 1924 A Passage to India provides an interesting study in postcolonial discourse. On the one hand, it is written by an Englishman and often represents the point-of-view of the British ruling class in India. For example, it can be denigrating toward the Indian people. In one passage, for instance, the narrative refers to the people of Chandrapore as made of:

mud moving. So abased, so monotonous is everything that meets the eye, that when the Ganges comes down it might be expected to wash the excrescence back into the soil.

Furthermore, the novel exoticizes India as place more primal—closer to nature than "civilized" Britain—full of jungles and creatures, like wild monkeys, who are impervious to the imperatives of civilization.

At the same time, the novel also critiques the brutality and racism of the British rule. Forster suggests that perhaps an answer would be for the British overclass to see and interact with the Indian people as fully human. However, when the good-hearted...

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