A Passage to India

by E. M. Forster

Start Free Trial

In the novel, A Passage to India, describe the Anglo- Indian relationship with reference of Aziz and Fielding.

Expert Answers

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

If there is any hope for Anglo- Indian relationships, it is brought out through the relationship between Aziz and Fielding.  It is the only association which, for the most part, transcends the intense cultural divide and intense clash between the English and the Indians.  Both Aziz and Fielding do honor their friendship for the most part.  Fielding is more demonstrative in how he supports their association, in my mind.  His resignation from the club, as well as the very idea of how Fielding seems to be authentic in maintaining their connection through the challenges presented represents this.  I think that Aziz is so very thrilled with an English person being demonstrative towards him is part of the reason why he displays so much loyalty at the start of their relationship.  Additionally, Aziz does show friendship, particularly to the end when few others would befriend him.  In the end, the challenges within which India is besieged and the uncertainty that shrouds it is also applicable to the friendship of Aziz and Fielding.  We are left with the wonderment as our only companion in terms of assessing if their friendship will persevere or if it, too, will become another victim to Indian independence and the end of the British Raj.

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

Critically examine the Fielding-Aziz relationship in A Passage to India.

Fielding is an outsider among the other British in India. He doesn't view the Indians as an inferior race, just different. He really believes that people of different cultures and beliefs can bridge the gap of understanding "by the help of good will plus culture and intelligence." He values friendship above any differences that people may have, and he tries to prove this with Dr. Aziz. He's the only British person who believes in the innocence of Aziz and doesn't hesitate to stand up for him.

Dr. Aziz is a complex man who seems unable to forge friendships with his own people and seems almost desperate to establish friendships with the English. He doesn't accept the Hindus in his own country, and I think this is indicative of Aziz being unable to accept friendship from anyone when it is sincerely offered to him. Aziz doesn't see Fielding for two years, and hearing that Fielding has remarried, Aziz assumes Fielding married Miss Quested, the woman who accused Aziz of rape. (Fielding had offered his home as an asylum to her after the trial.) It's almost as if Aziz is subconsciously sabotaging any possibility of a friendship with Fielding. The two meet accidentally, and Aziz is embarrassed about his assumption that Fielding married Quested. Aziz allows his bitterness toward all English to extend to Fielding as well and feels Fielding has chosen sides by marrying an Englishwoman.

There's so much more on the topic, so go to the link below.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Describe and analyze the relationship between Aziz and Fielding in the closing scene of A Passage to India, particularly as revealed by their behaviour and sentiment.

A Passage to India was published in 1924—that is, 23 years before Britain finally ceded colonial control of the Indian subcontinent and created India and Pakistan. Independence was not then considered inevitable.

As the novel...

This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

ends, Fielding and Aziz have gone on a ride together. Although they are arguing constantly, they keep saying they do not want to spoil the ride. Fielding often accuses Aziz of being impractical or romantic, as he totally dismisses the idea of Indian self-governance. At one point, when Aziz raises the idea of driving the British out, Fielding sarcastically suggests that he is proposing it become the colony of a different ruler. Fielding asks,

Who do you want instead of the English? The Japanese?

Aziz at first goes along with the "joke," saying that he wants the Afghans, his own ancestors. As they continue arguing in this vein, Aziz finally loses his patience as "Fielding mocked again." In a rage, Aziz shouts at Fielding, as a representative of all the English:

Clear out, you fellows, double quick, I say. We may hate one another, but we hate you most. . . . if it's fifty-five hundred years, we shall get rid of you, yes, we shall drive every blasted Englishman into the sea, and then . . . you and I shall be friends.

As the men embrace, Fielding reveals how totally incapable he is of understanding:

Why can't we be friends now? . . . It's what I want. It's what you want.

Forster's final sentences, in which he portrays all the elements of the natural and built environment saying "No," confirm how very wrong Fielding's assumptions are.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Describe and analyze the relationship between Aziz and Fielding in the closing scene of A Passage to India, particularly as revealed by their behaviour and sentiment.

Part of the reason why the ending of the book does not lead to overall friendship between Aziz and Fielding is because of Forster's assertion that the culture divide and clash is too formidable to cross.  The cultural divide that exists is one that suggests if two people hold beliefs that are incommensurate, a tense political climate will ensure that those divisions cannot be overcome.  Fielding and Aziz are friends with one another, and their embrace suggests this.  Yet, the tension in India at the time, confirmed by Aziz's hopes that the British will be overthrown and Fielding's belief that the British presence is the only element maintaining law and order, will go very far to ensure that friendship, in this political dynamic, is impossible.  In this light, Forster is suggesting that cultural differences can be overcome.  Yet, in strictly defined political contexts, this task will be very difficult, if not outright impossible.  The skies that suggest "No, not there," speak to the idea that transcendental notions of friendship can only overcome harsh contingencies if both participants are willing to put aside beliefs for something more elevated.  Forster argues that given both men's beliefs and the political cauldron that British India became, this is impossible to accomplish.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on