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A Passage to India

A Passage to India


by E.M. Forster

A Passage to India Life, Consciousness, Existence Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Part.Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #7

Men yearn for poetry though they may not confess it; they desire that joy shall be graceful and sorrow august and infinity have a form, and India fails to accommodate them. The annual helter-skelter of April, when irritability and lust spread like a canker, is one of her comments on the orderly hopes of humanity. (2.24.1)

Here, India is described as something so vast and chaotic that no "form" can encapsulate it. Human beings need "form," i.e., poetry, to impose order and meaning on the world, but India is so impossibly formless that no poetry can be written to adequately describe it. The passage could be referring to the novel itself, which, as a work of fiction taking place in India, is attempting what it alleges to be the impossible task of giving form to India.

Quote #8

[T]he harmony between the works of man and the earth that upholds them, the civilization that has escaped muddle, the spirit in a reasonable form, with flesh and blood subsisting […] The Mediterranean is the human norm. (2.32.1)

In contrast with the muddle of India (see Quote #7), Fielding finds in the Mediterranean a "reasonable form." Here, in an area many consider to be the cradle of Western civilization, Fielding finds a way of looking at the world that balances man and the world, spirit and flesh in harmony, rather than conflict. Ironically, Fielding's insight into the "reasonable form" of the Mediterranean doesn't help him deal with the muddle of India when he returns in Part 3 of the novel.

Quote #9

They loved all men, the whole universe, and scraps of their past, tiny splinters of detail, emerged for a moment to melt into the universal warmth. Thus Godbole, though she was not important to him, remembered an old woman he had met in Chandrapore days […] Completeness, not reconstruction. His senses grew thinner, he remembered a wasp seen he forgot where, perhaps on a stone. He loved the wasp equally, he impelled it likewise, he was imitating God. (3.33.3)

As in Quote #5, Godbole offers here a way of celebrating the muddle. Nothing is too insignificant to be embraced in the "universal warmth": God loves all things, from the old woman (Mrs. Moore) down to the teeny tiny wasp.

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