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Questions

A Passage to India Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. What happened to Adela in the cave? A few theories are thrown around in the novel – either Adela hallucinated, the guide did it, or a random villager did it. Do any of these theories work for you? Can you come up with a more satisfactory one?
  2. Forster said of Adela's experience in the cave, "When asked what happened there, I don't know" (Childs 22). How would the novel be different if Forster wrote out what happened to Adela in the cave? And why doesn't he show us how Mrs. Moore actually died?
  3. How successful do you think the novel is in its critique of "Orientalist" stereotypes? Do you think the novel still clings to some of these racial stereotypes when it depicts Indian characters?
  4. The novel's title suggests that passages are critical to the novel. Certainly one way of thinking of the title is that the "passage to India" is Adela's, or perhaps the passage that all of the English characters take to India. What are some other passages to India in the book? In what sense can we understand some of the Indian characters as taking a passage to India, either to an independent India or to the idea of a "real" India?

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