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Passage to India

Esmiss Esmoor and the East Forster’s novel A Passage to India, characters often seem grouped into one of two opposing camps: Anglo-Indian or native Indian. All the traditional stereotypes apply, and the reader is hard pressed to separate the character from his or her racial and ethnic background. Without his “Britishness”, for instance, Ronny disappears. However, a few characters are developed to the point that they transcend these categories, and must be viewed as people in their own right. Perhaps the most interesting of these is Mrs. Moore. Not only do ethnic boundaries not usually apply to her, but these divisions often blur in her case. Mrs. Moore straddles the line between conventional East and West in a number of different ways, and in some cases leaves both behind completely.From her very first appearance in the book, Mrs. Moore is an atypical Westerner. The only impressions of Anglos that the reader has yet gathered are the complaints of Hamidullah and his friends at the dinner party, Major Callendar’s abrupt summons of Dr. Aziz and the rudeness of Mrs. Callendar and Mrs. Lesley. Mrs. Moore materializes from nothing in the dark mosque, an apparition in a place where no whites ever bother to visit. She has respected the native customs by removing her shoes, and startles both Dr. Aziz and the reader by calmly explaining “God is here” (20). Right from her introduction, she is clearly not the average Englishwoman, and goes on to have a meaningful conversation with Aziz. Her considerate behavior might at first appear to be mere ignorance of local standards or inexperience in India, but in her subsequent conversations, Mrs. Moore demonstrates that she holds an entirely different view on life than Ronny and the other Anglos, or even Adela. For her, “God is love”, and people have been “put on this earth in order to be pleasant to each other” (51). There is no nonsense about ...

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