A Passage to India: Novel Summary: Chapters 36-37

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Chapters 36-37
As the religious festival continues, two of the English guests go out on a boat. After he sees them, Aziz goes to the European Guest House, where the guests are staying. No one appears to be there, and he reads two letters, one from Ronny to Fielding, and one from Miss Quested to Mrs. Fielding. The letters do nothing to improve his feelings about the English. Then Ralph Moore, Mrs. Moore's son, enters the room. He has been stung earlier by bees, and Aziz offers to take a look at the stings. He speaks roughly to the young man, but then he relents, remembering that Ralph is the son of his friend. He offers to take Ralph out on the lake for half an hour, and as he does so his old sense of hospitality returns. The sights and sounds of the continuing festival are all around them as they row out on the lake. Then a storm comes up, and in the confusion, Aziz's boat hits the boat which contains Fielding and his wife. The boats capsize, but the water is shallow, and no one come to any harm.

The next day, Aziz and Fielding, friends again, go for their last ride in the Mau jungle. Aziz produces a letter he has written to Miss Quested, praising her bravery. As the two men talk, it becomes clear to both of them that they will not meet again. There is no social framework in which Fielding, an Englishman, can continue to see Aziz, an Indian.

Analysis
The predominant mood in the last two chapters is one of reconciliation. This happens because of the chaotic Hindu festival, which neither Aziz (a Moslem) or Fielding professes to understand. But the festival produces a wave of love and reconciliation between people. It reconciles Aziz and Fielding, Aziz and Mrs. Moore's son, and even Aziz and Miss Quested (since he writes her an appreciative letter). However, the final image presented by the novel is not one of union but of separation. Individuals may be reconciled to each other, but the gap between cultures remains unbridgeable, at least for the time being

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