Passage to India

Topics: Hinduism, Hindu, E. M. Forster Pages: 8 (2832 words) Published: April 24, 2013
Discuss the various Symbols used in the Passage To India.
Forster is a distinguished novelist both in modern English and world literature history. His works ignite criticisms of different views, among which individual relationships and the theme of separateness, of fences and barriers are the main problems that the author always focuses on. After the author's two visits to India, the great novel A Passage to India (1924) was produced, which continues his previous style, i.e. probing the problem of personal relationship in a more complicated situation. In a word, it is a novel of cultural, social, psychological, and religious conflict arising mainly from clashes between India's native population and British imperialist occupiers. As far as the definition goes, generally, the word ‘symbol' stands for something else, esp. a material object representing something abstract- Middle English symbole, creed, from Old French, from Latin symbolum, 'token, mark', from Greek sumbolon, 'token for identification' (by comparison with a counterpart). From the viewpoint of literary & literary critical terms, it indicates an object, person, idea, etc., used in a literary work, film, etc., to stand for or suggest something else with which it is associated either explicitly or in some more subtle way. E.M. Forster's A Passage to India is painted with the colour of a wide range of symbols.    

1. The Marabar Caves:
Forster's A Passage to India is intense with the type of symbolic language that we generally connect with poetry in spite of the deep political themes of the novel. Forster depicts the manifestation of a blaze (in one of the more amazing passages) against the extremely reflective shell of a Marabar cave: "The two flames approach and strive to unite, but cannot, because one of them breathes air, the other stone. A mirror inlaid with lovely colours divides the lovers, delicate stars of pink and grey interpose, exquisite nebulae, shadings fainter than the tail of a comet or the midday moon, all the evanescent life of the granite, only here visible." (2.12.4) The Marabar Caves stand for all that is unfamiliar about natural world. The caves are older than anything else on the earth and represent emptiness and meaninglessness—a factual void in the earth. They disregard both English and Indians to act as guides to them, and their weird and wonderful attractiveness and hazard disturb tourists. The caves' strange feature also has the power to make tourists such as Mrs. Moore and Adela face parts of themselves or the cosmos that they have not formerly recognized. The all-reducing boom of the caves causes Mrs. Moore to see the darker side of her mysticism—a declining promise to the world of relationships and a growing ambivalence about God. Adela faces the disgrace and humiliation of her understanding that she and Ronny are not in fact attracted to each other, and that she might be attracted to no one. In this sense, the caves both devastate meaning, in reducing all remarks to the same sound, and expose or describe the unspeakable, the aspects of the universe that the caves' visitors have not measured until now. The Reverberation of the Cave

No matter what the sound is, e.g., sneezes, whistles, shouts, noise etc. return the equivalent echo in the first of the Marabar Caves: boum. This echo shows to ridicule the Hindu idea that the whole universe, and everything in it, consists of a particular spirit, Brahman. Even the human soul, called atman by Hindus, is part of this spirit. Therefore, a whistle is a sneeze and a sneeze is a soul, since all are Brahman—that is, all are the same essence. The echo frightens Mrs. Moore because she unclearly realizes that it symbolizes a power that decreases everything to equality—a dull, bare sameness. Even biblical words that she had lived by become part of the Brahman and thus lose their meaning, as reported by the narrator in the last paragraph of Chapter 14. Mrs. Moore thinks about the...
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