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passage to india
Write an essay on the theme of empire as reflected in the characters and landscape of A Passage to India.
The empire is one country or nation controlled other nation. For example; Britain was the British Empire conquest and control many countries politically and economically as India, Africa and other countries was subordinated under the British Empire, they spread them power in these countries. "Empire refers to a set of territories governed by an emperor, while imperialism describes the attitudes of the rulers."P8.Literature in the Modern World block 4 End of Empire. Imperialism according to Raymond William is a political system which the colonies as England are governed from imperial centre, and for economic reasons; to control the sources of raw material and to control the markets. They want to steal the material wealth in addition the human wealth; the British Empire use the Indian people to protect them and to help them and to serves the British. For example; in A Passage to India, the English people uses the Indian people to work with them in the military police but they do not put them in a high position,( this shows the racism, the high position only for the British) they let the Indian who they use arrest Dr. Aziz form the train. When the dominant country gives the colonies the independence described as the "end of Imperialism". Forster's novel A passage to India shows that India was politically and economically dominance under the British Empire."The Indian Civil Service provided career for the British middle class, and the Indian Army provided a force to police the empire."p3. Literature in the Modern World Block 4 End of Empire. English literature played a great role of education system in the British Empire. They imposed their own language and culture in school. Then this system make the colonies followed the British style. They force them culture to changes and kills Indian culture. A good example for that is in the A passage to India Dr. Aziz followed the English style in wearing and speaking.
Orientalism according to Edward Said's "The Discourse of the Orient" has three meaning;
The first meaning;"Anyone who teaches writes about or re******es the Orient … is an Orientalist, and what he or she does is Orientalism"p.259.Literature in the Modern World, Critical Essays and Document. For example; Forster considers as Orientalism because he interest on the Orient world, he wrote about orient. Also in A passage to India Mrs. Moore and Adela consider as Orientalist because they interest and want to see the real India.
The second meaning, "Orientalism is style of thought based upon an ontological and epistemological distinction made between 'the Orient' and (most of the time) 'the Occident'"P.260.Literature in the Modern World, Critical Essays and Document. That is means the way of thinking and seeking to contrast between the Orient and the Occident. It is imaginative conception which distinguishes between the East and the west. For example; the occident style of thought represents on Mrs. Moore which she represent the ideal Christianity in his thought and attitude while Dr. Aziz represent the Orient; he is represent Muslim culture in his thought and attitude.
The third meaning is "Orientalism as a Western style for dominating, restructuring, and having authority over the Orient"P.260.Literature in the Modern World, Critical Essays and Document. That means any European country have a power and control Orient country called Orientalism. So, said views that they represent the Orient as the Other. Other means the people who marginalized, they are subordinated, they cannot control themselves, they need the white men to control them and bring the civilization to them. For the arrival the west to the east they bring the civilization and culture to them. And the east brings to The Europe as its contrasting images. Ronny in A Passage to India; believe that Indian uncivilized and need to bring the civilization to them, also they are inferior.
I am going to talk about the relations between British and Indian people in the Indian colony, about the friendship between the British and Indian. I will show some characters from British and Indian who's good and bad, and the different culture in the colony.
Forster gives clear picture for both the British and India. He represent India place as mean and dirty Forster represent them as rubbish, muddle and not civilized " so, monotonous is everything that meet the eye…house do fall, people are drowned and left rotting,.."P5. A passage to India. While he represents British world live in Civil Station. They live in clean and neat "sensibly planned". The imperialism is clearly appearing from the separate worlds the British world the ruler and the Indian world the ruled. They are alien to each other. The racism is clearly, they separate the place. The clean and high place is for the ruler for the white man while the dirty place is for Indian the native.
The author represents different culture in the novel (culture clash). There is different culture between the West and the East. The British represents the West. Indian represents with the East. The Anglo Indians live in Civil Station, bring with them own culture and convention, such as the club, the tea party that called the Englishness which it is specific for English people. However; they attempted to make relation with the native but without understands Indian culture. They make the Bridge party because they try to connect between two culture English and India. Although it failures party because they invites Indian people to give impress to British who want to discover the real India such as Mrs. Moore and Mrs. Adela Quested. In the Bridge Party there is some English people who supporting the imperialism Such as Mrs. Turton and who anti the imperialism as Mrs. Moore and Adela I will show that later. However, the different is clearly for example in the clothes Indian women wear "Saris" it traditional clothes for Indian. Also there is different in the language. Mrs. Turton is learns the Urdu not to understand the Indian culture But only to speak with the servants and without any polite forms. In addition, there are some Indian women can understands a little of the English language. The culture clash is within Indians themselves. For example; there are many religions as Muslim, Christian and Hindus. Each of them has them tradition and culture. Each of them have own festival and own places to pray such as the Mosque it is the place for Muslims pray while the Temple is the place for Hindus prays . Dr. Aziz is proud for his Islam and he think that Hindus is alien and he never tries to understand them culture. In the trail both Moslems and Hindus celebrated for Aziz innocents. And finally Aziz is living in Hindu side and tries to understand the Hindus cultures.
Forster shows some important places in India. The Mosque; which reflects Muslim religion and culture. It's symbol to place of safety and peace. The scene in the mosque is very important for the event of the novel. The first creates friendship between the British and Indian. Dr. Aziz when he stays in the mosque at the night Mrs. Moore suddenly inters. She appears in a kind behavior. She respects the other culture and religious. That is clearly when She removes her shoes before she inter the mosque. Mrs. Moore walks to escape the heat of the club. The center question is present in this scene, can Indian became a friend with English people?.
There is another places Forster shows in the novel is The Caves. Caves represent an ancient history of India. The caves are symbol to the mystery evil in the picnic of the caves the narrative changes in different way. Sara Suleri said the writers use India as setting; they take India as a subject, they use many places in India such Forster's A Passage to India, in An Area of Darkness, the caves represent as gesture of possible rape. Suleri said that India same the women they had attack, it is same the attitude when Adela attack in the Caves. The British come and attack India then stool the wealth from it .The echo in a Marabar cave makes Mrs. Moore feels fear and horror. She lost interest in this journey. She "a terrifying echo".p150." The echo began in some indescribable way to undermine her hold on life" she realizes that everything is without value. She lost her believe. She lost her hold on the life. In addition, Adela Quested has a bad experience in the caves. When she inters one caves alone mystery thing happen to her. She seems attack. And that affects Adela's life, as hysteria grips her. She lost her balance and she cannot understand what happen to her in the cave. The author moves the novel from symbolic landscape to a social and political context.
Forster shows many attitudes in the novel about the India and the British rules. For example; Aziz Indian man. He is a doctor and has a good education; he is atypical for Indian man. He is a Muslim. He has a strong attitude against British, he do not like politics. He decides to escape to Hindus country where not be under the British rule. His attitude because falsely accused of attacking Adela in the cave. Aziz believe that creates the friendship with the English man is impossible. Because they are comes to India to control and install Indian wealth to be more powerful. The friendship can create with them only when they leave Indian then they come as a visitor so it is possible to be friend. He shouted to Fielding "India shall be a nation! No foreigners of any sort! Hindus and Moslem and Sikh and all shall be one! Hurrah! Hurrah! For India! Hurrah! Hurrah"p.306 A Passage to India.E.M.Forster. He wants the independent for his country.
Fielding is a good English character in Forster's novel. Fielding has a good manner. He is anti imperialism. His attitude is not as any English, he is not a typical Englishman. He has no racial feeling toward the native. A good example for his attitude with Aziz; when invite Aziz, Mrs. Moore and Miss Quested to the tea party because they are newcomers. Aziz is the first who come to the tea party Fielding told him "please make yourself at home". Fielding removes the boundaries and the races between them although he is the white man and the other black man. In addition; when Aziz arrest he is loyal to him, and he become in Indian side not British side. Because he is believes in Aziz innocent. Also Mrs. Moore consider as ideal character anti the imperialism. According to Said her Orientalism appears when she wants to know about the real India. She represents old women similar to the British culture. She is using Christian ideals in her behaviors. She reminds her son of the Christian.
In contrast we have Ronny Heaslop. Ronny is prejudiced of Indians. He has superior's attitude toward the native. He is supported the imperialism. He believes that they cannot govern themselves, and the British control them is something good. Ronny do not shows any respects to Indian. For example; he became annoyed from his mother attitude in the Mosque when she meet Aziz, she shows the respect to the place that she enter to it. She takes off his shoes. But Ronny tell his mother that he wish she had her shows, but she tell him that impudence. There is different between attitudes the mother which believes the God want to be kindly with each other in the world, and her son who is a superior and prejudice. Also; Mrs. Turton English woman takes the same attitude to Ronny she with the imperialism, she hated the native and feels a superior toward Indian. Mrs.Turton can speak Urdu only to order her servant without any polite forms. She learns only to order not to understand them culture or to interest for Indian. The common idea between the British to India is that Indian people are savages and never civilized.
In conclusion; Forster is English liberal anti imperialism. A Passage to Indian give a clear picture for both the Anglo Indian and the native during India is under the British Empire rule. He writes his novel and discusses important issues as apolitical issue, and the human race. He shows Indian in a bad light they suffer from British rule, for example they do not respect them and not allow them to inter the Club, Mrs Moore hope to invite Aziz to inter the club when she met him at first time in the mosque but that not allowed to Indian. Forster shows English men exploit the Indian and how they looking down to them.
1- Literature in the Modern World, Block4, End of Empire,(2005), By the Arab Open University.
2- Dawson S. & Davies J., (1990), Literature in the Modern World: Critical Essays and documents, Said Edward "The Discourse of the Orient", Suleri Sara "The Geography of A passage to India". By The Arab Open University.
3- Forster.E.M, A Passage to India.(2005), by the Penguin Group.
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