A Passage to India
Gender Quotes Page 1
How we cite our quotes:
[The women] disliked [Fielding]. He took no notice of them, and this, which would have passed without comment in feminist England, did him harm in a community where the male is expected to be lively and helpful. (1.6.3)
This passage explains Fielding's experience with British India's much more conservative attitude toward women than that in England. In British India, women are viewed as weak, requiring the protection of men.
"She was my wife. You are the first Englishman she has ever come before. Now put her photograph away." (1.11.9)
This passage is often cited in support of the view that women are just pawns to be exchanged between men. Significantly, Aziz's wife is dead, not a live, breathing person – she is a thing, basically reduced to a photograph. Aziz shows her picture to Fielding as a way to establish their friendship; her picture is, in effect, a Facebook friend invitation.
"[…] Any man can travel light until he has a wife or children. That's part of my case against marriage. I'm a holy man minus the holiness[…]" (1.11.64)
Early in the novel, Fielding advocates the bachelor life. As soon as you're tied down with a family, you lose the freedom and flexibility to do adventurous things like leave England to teach in India. Because he doesn't have a family to think of, Fielding is free to do things like go against Anglo-Indian society and defend Aziz later on in the novel. His own courage surprises Fielding at the end of the novel when he finally does get married to Stella Moore.