A Passage to India by Forster part 2 Caves Summary and Analysis Chapter XV-XVII

A Passage to India by E M Forster (Part 2 Caves)

Chapter XV – Summary and Analysis

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In this chapter Forster writes of Adela and her confusion. She is abut to get married to Ronny and the caves make her think philosophically of the meaning of marriage and love. She was feeling lost and even confused and annoyed Aziz by her silly question regarding Muslim marriage traditions. Her inner confusion and childish attitude come to light in the next chapters too. However, in this chapter while thinking of Anglo India and love, she does not prove herself wise but just as silly as the others like her.

Miss Quested and Dr Aziz silently continued upon their expedition without Mrs Moore. Hot sun had turned air into a hot bathtub. Dead plants were visible between the stones. They intended to climb to the Kawa Dol but the sun was making it impossible. So, they had to content themselves with the big group of caves. On their route, they visited smaller caves that the guide asked them to. There was nothing interesting inside the caves but only the reflection of the match.  Aziz was sure that  they were going to come against some prehistoric was carvings but it was only his hope. Inside he was concerned about the breakfast because things were being a bit disorganised and that was making him feel anxious. He tried to revise the menu in his mind which could be made interesting by adding some Indian delicacies with pan (betel leaves). Adela was not as interesting to him as Mrs Moore and she was getting married to an English official and that even diminished her importance.

Adela’s mind was also fixed on her marriage and she was thinking of the thousand things bothering her. Ronny’s servant, Anglo India, her peevishness which decided to get rid of her. She was faced with real difficulties and was thinking of being more practical in her life than just face more difficulties.  Luckily both she and Ronny had enough of common sense and goodwill. She came against a rock looking like an inverted safer and he footmarks near it made her think of love. She could not see any traces of love happening between her and Ronny.  Aziz  saw the baffled look on her face and asked if he was taking her too fast. She suddenly came to her senses. However, her mind was fixating at the thought of love and if it was necessary for a successful union. Her mind gave her mixed replies. She said she was alright and they resumed the climb.

Adela felt curious about Aziz’s family and enquired if he had. Aziz told her of his wife and were children and how he adored them.   She was still pondering because she knew muslims could have many wives and so confused Aziz with her question. He was taken aback. Even at their best these British could be enough comic.  Adela did not recognise her folly and entered another cave he had plunged into to recover his balance. The question had of course shaken her.   Half her mind was on the caves, feeling bored and the other half on her marriage.

 

Chapter XVI Summary and Analysis

 

[In this chapter Forster highlights how Poor Aziz’s simplicity gets him into trouble. While the poor host has done everything  to please his guests, he was still not familiar with the real attitude of the British. fielding was worried about the outcome of the picnic ad his fears come true at the end of this chapter in the form of the arrest of Dr Aziz. Fielding too grows frustrated at Adela’s behaviour and her irresponsibility.]

Aziz waited in the cave for minute and lit a cigarette trying to think of a suitable explanation for his guest. When he came out the guide was alone and both heard the noise of an approaching motor car. However, they were positioned in a manner that as the car drew nearer it became impossible to view it. Aziz hurried to tell Mis quested and the guide told him that she had gone into a nearby cave. He asked which cave and the guide made a vague gesture. He grew anxious but then tried to search for her. He asked the guide to shout but a shout is easily lost in the caves and all that returns is only an echo. Aziz grew frustrated and slapped the guide who immediately fled. He was now alone and thought that Miss Quested was already gone to see the people in the car. Perhaps, it was Ronny Heaslop himself.  Suddenly he caught  a glimpse of her talking to another lady. It relieved him and since she was a guest he did not find this conduct odd. Moving further he came across her field glasses near the entrance to a cave. He shoved them into his pocket. He was overjoyed to find that it was not Ronny Heaslop but instead Fielding who had arrived. The other lady was miss Derek. She had met Fielding at the post office and offered to run him here after the poor guy had missed the train.

Mrs Moore asked about Miss Quested and Aziz told that she had gone downhill to see Miss Derek. Miss Derek’s driver informed that the two ladies were off to Chandrapore Fielding could smell something wrong. Mrs Moore thought it was Miss Derek because she was he most unsatisfactory but Fielding thought it must be Miss Quested because Miss Derek was in no hurry.  He was rather reluctant about it and was frustrated at himself since Aziz was doing to make  everything a success and he had started out on the wrong foot. He was  also feeling a little sour bout the two women. They were going to mess things up. Mrs Moore was thinking likewise. Fielding had missed the train and now was trying to blame the two poor women. Mrs Moore had grown a little sour and her initial impression of a wonderful India had nearly vanished.  Fielding tried to visit the caves but did not feel impressed and so they decided to return. However, soon  when they reached the bottom of the hill, a thought came to Fielding’s mind and he asked Aziz how and where he really left Adela. Something about Adela’s escape was not feeling good.  While Aziz was not looking worried, he was not still as much familiar with these British women as Fielding who had enough reason to suspect that something was wrong. He did not like how Adela left the party and how its Derek helped her.

They all left on the elephant and soon Aziz and Fielding were joking about the money spent on the picnic and Md Latif. As the train left the Marabars again looked romantic. Soon, Chandrapore arrived and Inspector Haq jumped into the carriage. He announced he was there to arrest Aziz. Fielding knew something had gone wrong. Trying to take charge of the situation he asked Haq that something was wrong. Neither did Inspector Haq produce a warrant and nor did he clarify the charges. He asked  Fielding to refer to Mr McBryde. Fielding told Aziz there was some blunder and will be soon sorted out. However, the poor man had started sobbing and even tried to escape. Fielding was a bit anxious trying to bring Aziz under control. He said it was all going to be sorted out and that Mr McBryde will apologise. Ronny took away Mrs Moore and Fielding was called off by Mr Turton. Aziz went to prison and Latif started crying. This is how the poor fated expedition ended.

 

Chapter XVII Summary and Analysis

 

[The drama at the picnic and at the station had filled Fielding with distaste and frustration. Forster again shows how deeply these Britishers are filled with the herd mentality and how easy they find to keep reason aside. The drama at the picnic has left him angry and he was suggesting that Fielding better stay on the right side. They had all united again and could not think of anything but to act Gods. The only man thinking of reason was poor Mr Fielding who had decided to save Aziz.]

The collector had been watching the entire drama from inside the writing from like a God inside a shrine. He announced that Miss Quested had been insulted inside one of the Marabar caves and that it was the worst thing he had come across in his entire career. Fielding could do nothing except to say ‘Oh No!’. He believed it was impossible for Aziz to have committed this. Miss Derek and the poor victim Adela Quested had themselves filed the charge against Aziz. Fielding called Adela mad for having done this and the remark  offended the Collector. He objected strongly and Fielding was forced to apologise. He said it was a major shock for him and he could not still believe that Aziz was guilty. This made the collector even furious. Burton was trying to express his concern over the matter and that this was the poorest thing to have happened during his tenure at Chandrapore. He expressed that Indians and Britishers must never try to get intimate and that if they do it spells only a disaster. Burton hoped to avenge the girl and Fielding had decided to save Aziz. He thought it would be good to visit Mcbryde . There was going to be a meeting at the club and Fielding’s presence was expected. However, he said he would definitely come. He asked about the poor girl and was told she was ill. Fielding felt for the girl but the Collector kept watching him sternly. Anglo Indians grow furious when anything truest get into the way of their reason cause theirs is the only reason. These Britishers at Chandrapore were again British that day but none knew reason. It was again herd mentality at work. Collector ended teh interview and walked out where Ronny’s chuprassi was trying to take away things from the picnic. He angrily rebuked and the looting stopped.  While on his way back he was thinking of payback.

Abhijeet Pratap

Abhijeet has been blogging on educational topics and business research since 2016. He graduated with a Hons. in English literature from BRABU and an MBA from the Asia-Pacific Institute of Management, New Delhi. He likes to blog and share his knowledge and research in business management, marketing, literature and other areas with his readers.