Cyril Fielding's Tea Party in a Passage to India - Was It a Success or Not?

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A-Levels Essay
Topic 5, Chapter VII
One of the more important scenes in Forster’s Passage to India is the tea party hosted by Cyril Fielding. Many of the successes and failures experienced throughout this affair play a part in what follows. It is seen as a follow-up to the largely unsuccessful Bridge Party held recently before, and comes into existence through Mrs Moore and Adela’s desire to experience India on a more natural, equal and less awkward basis. The affair begins and ends on a bad note. Aziz is disappointed at the arrival of Adela and Mrs Moore as he was enjoying the intimacy and informality of the conversation he had been having with Fielding. Furthermore, the women themselves are disappointed and confused at the events of that morning with the Hindu Bhattacharyas having failed to send the carriage that they promised. Although India at the time was divided between Anglo-Indians and actual Indians, there is a further religious division within the Indians. This can be seen in how Aziz, a Muslim, is quick to slander the Bhattacharyas, who are Hindu: “Slack Hindus, they have no idea of society…” An early factor contributing to the collapse of Ronny and Adela’s marriage occurs during the conversation, in which Aziz asked Adela whether or not she would settle in India. She spontaneously responds that she cannot, a decision she’d later regret: “She made the remark without thinking what it meant… and not for several minutes – indeed, not for half an hour – did she realize that it was an important remark, and ought to have been made in the first place to Ronny.” Most of the discussion, however, is rewarding. There is mutual respect and tolerance despite the differences in background and culture. Out of the five now present, there are people representative to Islam, Christianity and Hinduism; which themselves are loosely linked to the three parts of the book: Mosque, Cave and Temple. Although Aziz was earlier disrespectful to Hindu people, he has...
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