A Passage to India Questions and Answers
by E. M. Forster

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Analyze the significance of the names for the three sections of A Passage to India.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In many ways, I think that Forster might be suggesting that there is division present in parts one and three.  This helps to bring out the idea that India is going to be a divided land internally and indigenous based on its partitions established through religion and culture.  The "Mosque" to open the book and the "Temple" to close it is reflective of this in its references to Muslims and Hindus.  It is also enhanced by the cool, dry season to open it and the monsoon rains to close it.  In this bookending structure, there is collision and there is difference.  There is a lack of convergence and rather much in way of divergence, seeming as if the Earth is opening up its natural divisions.  Interestingly enough, the middle section is where there is the most amount of separation and antagonism between English and Indians.  Yet, it is this section where I think that Forster might be suggesting that there is the most unity.  The presence of the caves, themselves, is part of this calculus.  When Forster describes the internal nature of the cave, he focuses on their darkness as well as their sense of overwhelming all differences.  All sounds in the cave, whether it is a call to Allah, a call to the Queen, or a call to any of the Hindu deities, results in a "Boum" sound.  This helps to construct reality as one where there is no difference between anyone or anything.  If Aziz and Adela kissed in the cave, no one could tell the difference whether an Anglo or an Indian touched one another.  The merging of identity is where the cave stands, and it might be a stylistic and thematic technique on Forster's part to place this in the middle, a statement that there can be a realm where antagonistic difference goes away in the face of homogeneity.  Yet, I think that this is fleeting, like the match struck in the cave, racing towards its own extinction with life outside of it as being defined by "Temple" and "Mosque." 

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