A Passage to India
by E.M. Forster
A Passage to India Part 2, Chapter 14 Summary
- Adela and Mrs. Moore have a chat on the train ride out to the Marabar Caves.
- Adela hasn't been feeling anything extraordinary for the past couple of weeks, and she's eager for some new and sublime experience. But the sunrise already disappoints, with its orange murkiness. They think nostalgically of Grasmere, a place in England of which both women are fond.
- The train stops. They get on an elephant, which Aziz has found at great expense, and ride to the Marabar Caves.
- The servants follow behind with supplies in tongas. They're quite a parade, as the elephant attracts the local villagers, who decide to go along with them to the caves.
- The party arrives at the caves, where Aziz has spread out an elaborate picnic for his English guests.
- Aziz is quite pleased with himself at this point. He tells his guests that he feels like Emperor Babur, a Mogul emperor.
- Adela and Mrs. Moore enjoy Aziz's stories about Babur and Akbar, another Mogul emperor.
- Then Adela tells Aziz about her engagement, and asks him how she can avoid turning into a horrible person like other colonial administrators' wives (like Mrs. Turton).
- Aziz is too polite to agree with her, so he changes the subject and invites them up to the caves.
- Mrs. Moore hates the caves. It's crowded and dark, and she feels something foul touching her (which turns out to be a baby in a villager's arms). She hears a monotonous echoing that seems to reduce all other sounds to the same "boum" (2.14.83). She decides to stay back by the picnic area and let Adela and Aziz go off to the caves on their own.
- At the picnic area, Mrs. Moore starts to address a letter to her other children, but can't continue. The echo is still bothering her. In fact, nothing seems to matter anymore. Horrified, she feels herself losing her will to live.
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