A Passage to India by E. M. Forster

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Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Chandrapore

Chandrapore Old, remote Hindu city with filthy alleyways and mean streets that is divided into three parts: old Chandrapore on the Ganges River; inland Maidan on higher ground, and the Civil Station on the second hill. Although it is located on the river, Chandrapore has no riverfront and no bathing steps. Nothing distinguishes Chandrapore except for its proximity to the Marabar Caves. It is home for the Indians.

Maidan

Maidan. Central section of Chandrapore that contains the hospital in which Dr. Aziz practices medicine and which is the section in which most Europeans live, in houses near the railway station. Maidan has an oval parade field on which polo is played and where soldiers practice.

Civil Station

Civil Station. Section of Chandrapore made up of British civil offices and residences. It is a city of gardens, forests, birds, and streets laid out and named for generals. If not charming, it is functional, with houses for the officials, a grocery store, a cemetery, the Chandrapore Club, Government College, and the official offices. The police station and courthouse are located in the Civil Station. The police station is where Aziz is incarcerated after he is accused of an attack on Adela. The court is the formal courtroom for legal proceedings and is composed of several platforms for various service persons and magistrates who function in the courtroom.

The Civil Station is more formal than some of the other settings of the novel. Mr. Fielding’s residence is located near the Government College. Social interaction among Aziz, the British officials, and visitors before and after Aziz’s trial occurs here. It is also the only place for Adela to stay after the trial ends. The residence of the superintendent of police is where Mrs. McBryde provides nursing care and sanctuary for Adela after the attack and before the trial. However, because of cultural and religious prejudices, the home is closed to Adela when she recants her accusation of Aziz.

Mosque

Mosque. Islamic place of prayer that is a peaceful, gracious, but crumbling holy place. It is enclosed with a low wall around the courtyard, with a stream that runs through the garden and a three-sided covered part. Aziz frequents this mosque and one night is disturbed to see an Englishwoman there. After admonishing her for entering the mosque and wearing her shoes inside, he learns of her knowledge and genuine appreciation for the Islamic religion and for India.

Chandrapore Club

Chandrapore Club. Social center for British government officials from which Indians are denied admittance. Instead of bridging the gap between the colonizers and their subjects, this club makes the gap wider.

Marabar Caves

Marabar Caves. Complex of caverns in the rough Marabar Hills overlooking Chandrapore. The caves are not sacred, contain no sculptures or drawings, and are not tourist attractions. They are all just alike. The entrance is a long human-made tunnel that leads to a circular center room. It is believed that...

(The entire section is 11,004 words.)