Mean As Custard (calico_pye) wrote,
Mean As Custard

Reading Week - A Passage to India III

I have finished annotating A Passage to India and now I am reading back through some of the notes.

The thing is, somehow I don't 'get' Forster's need to herald Adela as some kind of heroine - yes she withdrew her initial allegation where she accuses Aziz of assault; indeed it would have been considered the norm to continue with the allegation, even if she knew she was wrong.  Somehow this is portrayed as not being just good of her - but somehow conveyed as an amazing virtue.  Sticks in my craw.

She ruins the man's life, his reputation - he is haunted by the problem and justifiably so.  Two years later, he is STILL being tailed by British authorities - just in case they can prove that the Indian HAS lied etc.  It sliced into the fabric of the already-acrimonious community.  It caused riots, caused more divisions.  Fielding is meant to be Aziz's friend - yet he shields Adela when she is made a pariah by her fellow Brits, develops a friendship with her and befriends her properly back in England. He then marries Adela's former fiance's sister.  All too cozy for the justifiably-upset Aziz.  Fielding still wants to be friends? I don't think so - you can't unbreak a plate. It is his friendship with Fielding that is Aziz's undoing, because he hopes that the other British can be like that.  He finds that Mrs Moore is another benevolent white woman, then the whole thing becomes unseated when Adela has an unsettling five minutes in a cave - in an altered state, or otherwise.

I am aware that I am bashing a masterpiece and yes, I am aware that this work is a product of the time.  It does a lot to explain the difficulties that arose and put the Brits in a less-than-sympathetic light.  The omnipotent third person tries to sit on the fence, but actually it is clear that Fielding expects the sympathetic character Aziz to renew the hand of friendship, like a good little Indian.  I suspect that Forster has made a 'Mary Sue' out of Fielding. So, what am I 'not' getting about this book? I don't like the portrayal of Aziz as being totally unreasonable - even if this is about cultural stereotypes, Aziz is not angry without a certain amount of justification.

It is still a beautifully-written book - enough for me to get emotionally involved, it appears!

I am about to watch the film again - to remind myself how it translates on the small screen.  It is has amazing descriptions and has close observations of the inter racial tensions of the colonised territories, so it will be interesting to see how it is portrayed (I have only watched up to their arrival at the Marabar Caves).

The film was good - I expected judicial editing, but not for whole chunks to be retold in a totally different way (i.e. just NOT canon).  A bit Disney-fied, but it gives an insight into how the place and the feeling was back then.  I cannot start on the essay until after tomorrow as there is a Year 3 progression day and I need to be there.
Tags: a passage to india, e.m. forster, fda english y1, grindstone files - year 1, sense of place

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