Passage to India

by Walt Whitman

Start Free Trial

I've been asked to write an essay about the following question. Please Help! Thanks!!! Based on the first part of the novel, “Mosques,” discuss the question posed in chapter two regarding the possibility of Indians and Brits being friends.  Does Forster suggest it is possible by chapter XI?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I think that in answering such a question, you would have to ensure that you are able to use the text as your primary level of support.  Some questions that need to be asked in this process would be which specific characters are able to forge friendships between the British and the Indians.  You would probably also have to examine the motivations of the different characters presented and see if the ability to move past the social and political climate of Imperialism would be able to be embraced in order to allow the bridge of friendship to emerge. In being able to use specific characters and their actions as support, you might be able to bring out where Forster stands on such an issue through his work.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Forster spends most of the first part of the novel developing the characters that represent the British (Ronnie and his colleagues and friends) and the Indians (Aziz). The more we learn about them, the more it seems that they will never be able to be friends country to country. Mrs. Moore, Adela, and Mr. Fielding are British people, however, that tend to bridge the gap. by chapter XI, we see a friendship developing between Aziz and Mr. Fielding that seems to indicate that if there is to be friendship, it must start on the human level, person to person. Forster does not seem to be openly critical of British colonialism as some writers, but he does seem to imply that the British have a long way to go in being proper stewards of their empire. As far as being friends, the culture of India is so far removed from that of the British in this novel, that it doesn't seem possible that the two countries will be able to be friends. Certainly not in the way that the British Empire is friends with its former 13 colonies that are now the United States. In this case, the culture - religion, language, etc. - are similar and therefore friendly relations are easier. But in India, with its different cultures, its different religions, its language -- there does not seem to be much hope for friendship on the political front.

Read about the novel here on eNotes.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team