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A Passage to India

A Passage to India

by E.M. Forster

Race Quotes

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Quote #10

When the villagers broke cordon for a glimpse of the silver image, a most beautiful and radiant expression came into their faces, a beauty in which there was nothing personal, for it caused them all to resemble one another during the moment of its indwelling, and only when it was withdrawn did they revert to individual clods. (3.33.2) [compare with English who have similarly exalted expressions]

The novel again and again attacks race, the color of your skin, as the basis for a community, whether it's the white Anglo-Indians or the Indians. Instead, when communities come together for a worthy cause, as in this religious festival, their faces acquire a "beautiful and radiant expression": it is this expression, rather than the color of their skin, that represents their belonging to a community. Compare this expression to the similarly beautiful expression on the Anglo-Indians when they come together in support of Adela. Of course, this expression quickly dissipates when they use Adela's case as an excuse to vent their ugly racist attitudes.

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