Study Guide

Mr. McBryde in A Passage to India

By E.M. Forster

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Mr. McBryde

Mr. McBryde, the police superintendent, is introduced to us as "the most reflective and best educated of the Chandrapore officials" (2.28.1). No wonder, then, that he gets along so well with Fielding. Like Turton, McBryde is an official committed to public service in the British Empire. His attitude toward Indian criminals is neither overtly racist nor tolerant; he views them more as scientific specimens that support his view of what he calls "Oriental Pathology." Here, McBryde is unfortunately a product of his time. Apparently, you need a cool, drizzly London fog to be properly civilized because McBryde blames Indian criminality on the climate. The fact that he himself was born in Karachi, in what is now Pakistan, doesn't seem to change his mind. McBryde's scientific pretensions are neatly ironized when we later discover that he's been sleeping around on his wife.

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