A Passage to India

by E. M. Forster

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Part II, Chapters XV – XVII: Questions and Answers

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Study Questions
1. Why does Adela not want to break her engagement to Heaslop, even though she has realized that they don’t love each other?

2. What train of thought leads her to ask Aziz how many wives he has? Why is Aziz shocked by it? Is she aware of his shock?

3. Why does Aziz strike the guide?

4. What is Aziz’s reaction when he hears that Miss Quested and Miss Derek have driven back to Chandrapore?

5. What causes the awkwardness between Mrs. Moore and Fielding? How does Aziz feel about it?

6. Why does Aziz conceal the truth about what happened in the caves?

7. Why does Mrs. Moore feel apathetic and cynical?

8. Why is Fielding annoyed with Miss Derek and Miss Quested?

9. Why does Fielding prevent Aziz from escaping arrest?

10. What forms of madness does Fielding perceive after the arrest? Does he understand madness?

1. Miss Quested reflects that marriage does not seem to depend on love. There is also the probability that breaking the engagement would cause her social embarrassment.

2. Adela has been musing about love and marriage herself, so it is natural for her to ask Aziz if he is married. It occurs to her that Muslims may have more than one wife, she then asks Aziz how many he has. For Aziz, having more than one wife is an old-fashioned custom of which he, as a modern Muslim, is ashamed. Adela is unaware that she has offended him.

3. Aziz strikes the guide because he feels frightened and worried and chooses to blame him for not looking after Miss Quested.

4. He is relieved, assuming that they have obeyed the same kind of impulse that he has often followed.

5. Mrs. Moore is suffering from her experience of despair. Fielding is annoyed with himself and chooses to include Mrs. Moore in his self-blame. They do not know each other well and feel awkward at finding themselves together on account of an Indian.

6. Aziz has never been particularly interested in verbal truth to begin with. He is embarrassed for Miss Quested, and wants to protect her by concealing the fact that she asked him such an insensitive question. His natural inventiveness then carries him away into a pleasant embroidery of the original story.

7. Her fainting in the cave has changed Mrs. Moore permanently. Her whole vision of India has been altered.

8. He feels they have been rude to Aziz by accepting his hospitality and then leaving without even an explanation.

9. Fielding can foresee that if Aziz escapes, there will be a manhunt and his guilt will seem certain.

10. Madness has taken possession of the collector, who is raving about the insult Miss Quested has suffered and the way the good name of his district has been ruined. He is angry with Fielding for not joining the collective madness that has engulfed all the other Europeans in Chandrapore. Fielding says that Miss Quested must have been mad to accuse Aziz in the first place.

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Part II, Chapters XII – XIV: Questions and Answers


Part II, Chapters XVIII – XXI: Questions and Answers