A Passage to India
Contrasting Regions Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
Trouble after trouble encountered [Aziz], because he had challenged the spirit of the Indian earth, which tries to keep men in compartments. (2.14.2)
The novel portrays India as a country that will always be doomed to be divided against itself, fissured by competing religious and cultural groups.
How can the mind take hold of such a country? Generations of invaders have tried, but they remain in exile. The important towns they build are only retreats, their quarrels the malaise of men who cannot find their way home. India knows of their trouble. She knows of the whole world's trouble, to its uttermost depth. She calls "Come" through her hundred mouths, through objects ridiculous and august. But come to what? She has never defined. She is not a promise, only an appeal. (2.14.22)
This passage again stresses how India eludes any attempt to grasp it – intellectually or geographically. India is so varied and vast that the mind can't possibly know it. Similarly, it is so diverse and so enormous that no one power can maintain its hold over it, including the British, like so many empires before it. This passage seems to play with an Orientalist stereotype. Here, India is seen as so alien to thought that it reinforces the stereotype of India as essentially foreign and exotic.
"Ah, dearest Grasmere!" Its little lakes and mountains were beloved by them all. Romantic yet manageable, it sprang from a kindlier planet. (2.14.27)
In contrast to India, Grasmere, a pleasant little place in England, is a source of comfort. It's not threatening in the way India is in its vastness: it's homey and sounds kind of cute with its "little lakes and mountains."