In E. M. Forster’s A Passage to India, the reader experiences multiple layers within the novel beginning with the structure, the focus on relationships, and the characters. The author makes a concerted effort throughout the novel to build a bridge between Western and Eastern societies by using the characters to demonstrate the deep differences in the cultures. For the reader, unfamiliarity with Indian culture may pose some issues in interpreting and understanding behaviors and roles within the text. One character in particular, Professor Godbole, enhances the mystery of the contrasting societies because he seems to not notice the feelings of other people. That is in contrast to his high position in the Indian caste system. As a Hindu Brahmin, he is at the top of the Hindu social status and his view of the world is one of peace and that life is really something to be celebrated. Because of his belief, he does not recognize the struggles of others regardless of their culture. According to David Shusterman, there seems to be no “doubt that Godbole is a man of genuine goodwill or that he is the source of much that is good.” His approach to life gives others a sense of hope that is demonstrated throughout the book. He chooses a time of crisis for others to say to Mr. Fielding, “I had thought of the ‘Mr. Fielding high School,’ but failing that, the “King-Emperor George the Fifth’ regarding the naming of the school. This is another example of the layering Forster uses throughout the novel and this specific incident sets up the importance of Godbole’s role for the rest of the novel. Forster’s ability to layer his novel by structuring it into three parts, where each part is a different season also sets the tone for the layering of characters as the story progresses. Godbole is viewed as a religious man throughout the novel. The layering continues with the focus on the three major world religions as Forster uses India to set the tone for Islam, Christianity...
References: of mystery in Forster’s work. Accessed 1 Nov. 2011. n.d.
Forster, E. M. A Passage to India (San Diego: Houghton Mifflin, 1924).
Sarker, Sunil Kumar. E. M. Foster’s A Passage to India. (New Delhi: Atlantic Publishers,
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Review of English Studies. The Genius of Professor Godbole. (1977) XXVIII (109): 56-60. doi:
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