Why do you think Forster shifts the theme of the novel from history to philosophy in A Passage to India?

Expert Answers

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

Primarily, A Passage to India is not a historical novel because the action takes place roughly at the time the novel was published (1924). While E. M. Forster does concern himself with the current state of affairs of the British Raj (the British rule in India), and depicts the events in the book from the perspective of both the British and the Indian characters who reflect on the history of the British colonial rule, as an author, his chief interest lies in the concept of the possibility of the colonizer and the colonized to function as anything other than antagonists.

This is depicted best in the relationship between Cyril Fielding and Dr. Aziz: they both have the best of intentions, and they respect each other, but the fact that Fielding by his very presence represents the oppression of India by the British makes it impossible for Dr. Aziz to be true friends with him.

By focusing on the philosophy of oppression and human communication, Forster makes his themes more universal and relatable for future generations in different contexts.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial