Assess A Passage to India as a Postcolonial novel.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that one could make the argument that there is much within Forster's work which can operate as a Postcolonial work.  One reason is because the work deals with race in India between Indians and the British. Postcolonial literature is rooted in discussing race and different valences about racism.  A Passage to India illuminates a condition of racism that is a part of the Colonial predicament in India.  Forster brings out the issue of race in a discussion of what Colonialism has constructed in India.  The result of the Colonial reality in India has altered the condition of race and racial identity of both Indians and the British.  This is an aspect of Postcolonial literature.

Another arena where one can see Postcolonialism inA Passage to India would be in the notion of identity.  The hybridity intrinsic to Postcolonial literature can be seen in many of the characters.  Aziz dislikes the British, but he recognizes the need to acclimate his identity in accordance to British ideals. His rejection of the British at the end of the novel reveals an aspect of Postcolonial identity.  Mrs. Moore demonstrates a level of hybridity in how her identity is altered as a result of her passage to and through India. Her characterization embodies the hybrid nature of identity because of a "cross- fertilization of cultures."  Postcolonial literature delights in exploring how cultural identity and thus individual identity is altered in different and divergent manners.  Forster's work does this in bringing out characters whose identities are fundamentally changed as a result of the collision between English and Indian cultures.  The characters' identities become permanently altered as a result of race and culture, reflecting a critical aspect of Postcolonialism.

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A Passage to India

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