British Gaze In A Passage To India Essay

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pire (British) Gaze in A Passage to India
A story of cross-cultural resonance in postcolonial discourse, A Passage to India, plays on imperial misinterpretations and misunderstandings. Throughout the novel Forster employs a kind of cynical realism to highlight the impossibilities of cross cultural male bonding, between Aziz, the protagonist, an Indian Muslim doctor and Fielding, the English professor. As his biographer P.N. Furbank notes in his biography on Forster, E.M Forster:
A Life, using Forster’s own words, “When (I) began the book (I) thought of it as a little bridge of sympathy between
East and West, but this conception has had to go, my sense of truth forbids anything so comfortable” (106). Such a statement made by the author himself,
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(A Passage to India 5).
In evaluating such a description, the reader is deliberately shifted from exotic and colorful narratives about British
India which featured picturesque and exalted discourses about the colonial exchange. But the description is still largely Eurocentric.
As Sara Suleri asserts, it is a mundane geographical appropriation of the colonized land, rendered as a hollow space through which the imperial dialogue is articulated in its imperial ideologies. It is this striking feature of the novel that locates it on the cusp between colonial and postcolonial narrative, in Suleri’s words: “the touristic experience of colonialism is deglamourised into mathematical computations of how literally banal the exotic may be” (45). But if detouring from eroticizing India offers an escape route from a colonial paradigm, Forster relies on other stereotypes to reiterate his theme as essentially Orientalized. The manner by which all his Indian characters are portrayed, starting with the protagonist himself, echoes an undercurrent of unauthenticity, simulating, in this regard, old colonial narratives, where the Other was hardly understood.
Aziz is portrayed as a little dark man, whose attractions are never literalized. He is impulsive, prone to
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