Critical Analysis Of A Passage To India

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Introduction E.M. Forster’s novel ”A Passage to India” is set between the British Raj and the Independence Movement of India. It is set in India, in the early 20th century, when India was still one of the British colonies. With the novel, Forster in a way “challenges” the belief that the British had the right to colonize Indians. One of the main reasons of the British colonization was that the British believed they were superior to those who were poorer than them, and those whose skin was different than theirs; they believed it was their duty to “civilize the savages”.
After the publication of the novel in 1924, as Mohammad Shaheen states in his work “E.M. Forster and the Politics of Imperialism”, the public were divided as to whether the novel was a masterpiece or a political statement. He was strongly criticized by those who supported the British Empire, but supported by all those who, like him, questioned the methods of British “civilization” in India.
Paul B. Armstrong confirms that the critics either support Forster or are against him and adds:
“[…] this novelist’s anguished, but resolute, defense of liberalism results from his recognition of impossibility of reconciling different ways of seeing, a recognition he attempts to bring readers to share by his subtle play with narrative authority and point of view. Especially in “A Passage to India”, where the conflict of interpretations is portrayed as a conflict between cultures […]” (Armstrong, 1992: 365)

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