Adela Quested – A Character Analysis
Adela Quested is betrothed to Ronny and has come to India to get married. A curious and immature girl, Adela wants to see and know India. She is with Mrs Moore, who is worried about her son’s marriage. However, Adela’s curiosity gives rise to difficulties for both her and others. She is an immature girl caught in an illusion between intellectualism and God. She brings her confusion with herself to India where she meets Aziz and Fielding.
Like Mrs Moore, Aziz has grown dear to Adela as well. However, her love for India is not as strong as Mrs Moore’s. She is also prone to leaving a double impression on others. On the one hand, she appears a meek and vulnerable girl and on the other cunning and opportunistic like most other Britishers. She is trying her best to manage herself well but always ends up getting caught in a bad situation. Confusion after confusion follows her and like Mrs Moore, the echo in the Marabar caves chases her making her feel hollow and lost. She realizes her mistake when it is too late and tries to mend it but not without being through her fair share of trauma.
India marks a difficult but extraordinary turn in three English people’s lives – Fielding, Mrs Moore and Adela Quested. For Mrs Moore, it is the turning point from where she starts on her last journey. In case of Fielding, he leaves India to return to a more stable life and his beautiful wife Stella receives the love Adela could not find in India. For Adela, it marks a realization and purification of soul that takes her on a better path in her life where she finds freedom from confusion and gains more satisfaction. She is at last glad that despite being through a troublesome episode in her life in India, she is back on the right path. Had she married Ronny and kept his company, she too would have become lifeless and comic like others at the club.
She accused Aziz of having molested her at the caves. Nobody knows what happened inside the caves and Fielding feels the girl has made a mistake. Mrs Moore helps her realize her mistake and in the court she realizes it at just the right point of time, before anything wrong could happen. Aziz is released and freed from every allegation. However, he has born too much humiliation which has changed him forever.
Adela has lost her image among the Indians and the British community has rejected her. In such a time, she finds help from Fielding and with his help some of her stability is restored. She stays at the college for some days and it leads to rumors against her and the schoolmaster. Neither of the two mind those rumors but it becomes a cause of drift between Fielding and Aziz. However, once she has found support from Fielding, the echo stops chasing her and she returns safely to England. Aziz is feeling humiliated and anxious and unable to bear the tension the poor girl has caused, he wishes that she pays twenty thousands in fine. This would have spelt a real disaster for the girl who comes out to be an innocent and harmless creature. At least, Fielding definitely believes so. He persuades Aziz to let Adela make her way to England so she can find a new and happy life. Aziz agrees because Mrs Moore’s name still affects him and because of his deep respect for the departed soul, he is willing to let Adela go. However, he is still frustrated and since Fielding is supporting Adela, he thinks his friend has betrayed him. The girl does not want to earn a poor reputation in India and feels disappointed at her own behavior. Before leaving India, she has broken her marriage with Ronny and returns to England where she can find a new husband and be back among her friends.
While she and Aziz are not able to become friends again while she is in India, they do so later through Fielding. Meanwhile Aziz keeps believing that Fielding has married Adela and it makes him hate the two. Fielding returns and Aziz learns that he has married Stella and even if it does not emotionally affect him much, he thinks a bit differently of Adela and sees her again as Mrs Moore’s companion. Feeling reminded of Mrs Moore, Aziz is willing to shake hands again with Adela and writes her a respectful letter clearing the misunderstanding between the two. The air has cleared and Adela’s reputation is restored. By the end she has left a satisfactory impression on the readers and one important confusion that gets cleared through her character is that to win India whether by love or by force is not possible and nor in any other manner. Mrs Moore who loves India truly is remembered by Indians with respect but readers see that the echo chases her too. Adela strikes a poor connection while trying to create a better impression than others. She gets to understand India better when she has left India and feels lighter. In this way, Adela is also one of those English characters that find fulfillment in India, what if partial, still it leads her in a new direction in life.
Adela is an important character in the novel and constructed in a manner to show the other side of the British life. Not all Britishers are like Ronny and the other pretentious people who meet regularly at the club. She is curious but also a lot more honest compared to Ronny and others. Mrs Moore liked her sincerely but she also somewhere knew that Ronny was a poor match for her. Even if they had married each other, the marriage might not have lasted. Adela feels helpless after everyone has deserted her following the Marabar case. However, she finds a new and a very different kind of friend in Fielding. She is also concerned about muddles and mysteries and how they affect your view of India. Fielding helps both her and Mrs Moore in this regard. Adela is not physical attractive, which might also be a reason that Aziz feels pressed to disregard her. Despite it all, she remains a critical character in the novel who gains readers’ sympathy for her honesty. If she had chosen to go the other way in the Marabar case, she might have won the sympathy of the British community but it would have required her to be spiteful and pretentious like the others. She makes the right choice and pays its price. However, a big burden is off her conscience. Her fate appears ironic at first, but later it appears she has avoided the hell by choosing the right path.