By John Beer (eds.)
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Additional info for A Passage to India: Essays in Interpretation
Since the accession of critical methods concerned with representation as an ideological construct, and not a truthful, morally inspired account of reality, however, the politics of the novel have demanded another mode of analysis, where the articulations of the fiction are related to the system of textual practices by 27 28 A Passage to India which the metropolitan culture exercised its domination over the subordinate periphery; within this theoretical context, A Passage to India can be seen as at once inheriting and interrogating the discourses of the Raj.
The trinities of the book continually suggest this totality, sometimes in the very rhythms of comic triviality, sometimes in the rhythms of the cosmos itself. Thus 'outside the arch [of the heavens] there seemed always an arch, beyond the remotest echo a silence' ( v, 71) is but an echo of the three arches of Fielding's house (vii, 81) or the three arcades (ii, 41) of the mosque into which Mrs Moore steps. When Aziz sees her there he angrily shouts (before he learns that she has removed her shoes), 'Madam!
Mystical Sufi tendencies are represented in the unmistakably Indian incarnation of Islam, a monotheistic and historically recent religion, dually committed to the mundane and the sacred. But, having confronted the more ambitious theories of older India, Forster now relegates Islam's consummation of the prose-poetry connection as too symmetrical, shallow and easy. With 'Caves', the novel passes back to the world-rejecting atheist tradition of the Jains, 9 a post-Vedic heterodoxy of the fifth century BC but, like Buddhism- with which it has historical and theoretical affinities - rooted in the ancient, aboriginal metaphysics of primal, Dravidian India.
A Passage to India: Essays in Interpretation by John Beer (eds.)