A Passage to India
by E.M. Forster
A Passage to India Part 1, Chapter 8 Summary
- On the car ride to the polo match, Adela thinks about her comment to Aziz that she didn't plan to stay in India, which basically meant that she didn't intend to marry Ronny.
- She considers how uncool Ronny has become. He's become an annoying, unloveable bureaucrat.
- Ronny asks his mother about the Marabar Caves, and Adela informs Mrs. Moore that Aziz has invited them to a picnic at the Marabar Caves. Ronny is dismissive, and he and Adela quarrel. Mrs. Moore chides them both for quarreling and insists on getting dropped off at home. Ronny and Adela, chastised, are silent.
- After dropping Mrs. Moore off at Ronny's place, Ronny and Adela continue on to the polo match.
- At the polo match, Adela and Ronny walk off by themselves. Adela tells Ronny that she doesn't want to marry him. Ronny is miserable, but takes it well. They're relieved to have the conversation over with and agree to remain friends, although Adela wishes there had been more drama.
- They are interrupted by the Nawab Bahadur, who offers to take them for a ride in his new car. Adela and Ronny take a seat in the back while the Nawab dozes in front next to his chauffeur.
- As the car speeds along, Adela and Ronny's hands accidentally touch, and they both feel a thrill.
- All of a sudden, the car jolts to a stop against a tree. The Nawab wakes up, terrified. The chauffeur says he hit an animal. Ronny and Adela go back to investigate, and come to the conclusion that they hit a hyena.
- Miss Derek drives by and offers to give them a lift. They don't have enough room for the chauffeur, so they have to leave him behind. They drop the Nawab Bahadur in town.
- As they pull up to the bungalow, Adela and Ronny touch hands again, only this time Adela presses his hand, and Ronny returns the pressure. Before they walk in, Adela takes back her refusal of marriage to Ronny and they are engaged once again.
- Ronny and Adela walk into the bungalow and announce their engagement to Mrs. Moore, who is happy for them. They tell Mrs. Moore about their accident, and Mrs. Moore exclaims, "A ghost!" (1.8.133).
- Ronny goes to work in his office, while Adela and Mrs. Moore play cards.
- Adela wonders whether she's been "good" and "honest" on the trip. Mrs. Moore tells her not to worry, and blames Adela's confusion on the newness of the surroundings. Adela asks Mrs. Moore why she thought the animal they hit was a ghost. Mrs. Moore doesn't remember calling it a ghost.
- The novel shifts gears and follows the Nawab Bahadur, who's telling a captive audience in Chandrapore about the accident.
- The Nawab believes it to be the ghost of a man he'd killed with his very first car. Aziz, who is in the audience, murmurs to the Nawab's grandson that Indians have to get rid of their superstitions.
- The novel switches back to Adela and Mrs. Moore's game. They go to bed as outside, the heat approaches.
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