A Passage to India
Power Quotes Page 1
How we cite our quotes:
The roads, named after victorious generals and intersecting at right angles, were symbolic of the net Great Britain had thrown over India. He felt caught in their meshes. (1.2.46)
The rigid angles marked out by the colonial roads stand in for the lines that the English draw to organize and manage their colony. Aziz feels the effects of the British Empire at a deep, psychological level, feeling personally trapped by colonial life.
A community that bows the knee to a Viceroy and believes that the divinity that hedges a king can be transplanted, must feel some reverence for any viceregal substitute. At Chandrapore the Turtons were little gods; soon they would retire to some suburban villa, and die exiled from glory. (1.3.36)
This passage casts an ironic eye toward the Turtons, who may lord their position in society over everyone in their particular province of India as if they were gods. And as Ronny Heaslop says, India likes its gods (see the first quote under "Justice and Judgment"). But when they return to England, their human ordinariness will return, and they will revert to run-of-the-mill retirees.
And there were circles even beyond these – people wore nothing but a loin-cloth, people who wore not even that, and spent their lives in knocking two sticks together before a scarlet doll – humanity grading and drifting beyond the educated vision, until no earthly vision can embrace it. (1.4.12)
This quote asks the reader to consider how it would be possible to create a society that respects the needs of even the very neediest of human beings, human beings whose lives are so meager that they don't register on the consciousness of a Turton or McBryde, or even more enlightened characters such as Adela and Fielding.