A Passage To India
Dear Mr. Forster: It is that time of year again, you know back to school and all, and like the changing of the seasons, eternal and unrelenting, I am once again being forced to write to you regarding one of your works. This banal assignment has been so played out, that at this point I believe it is safe to say that any imaginative essence it might have once had, has been expunged. However, some good has come out of this ridiculous assignment, as I had the great privilege to read one of your best works, " A Passage to
". Its lengthy descriptions of the backdrop to the story mirrored the drawn out works of Dickens, however, its message redeemed the work and even interested me. The dramatic tension between the British and Indian cultures and society was gripping and. I felt the fundamental question "can two distinct people live in harmony with one another?" to be both thought provoking and chilling. It is very ironic that after only twenty some odd years, the answer to your question was answered. No! The way you developed the chasm between the two people was almost as keen as the question itself. Through descriptions and allusions to the three conflicting religions, Christianity, Islam and Hinduism, you clearly outlined the stark differences which existed between the Indians and their rulers, the British. The stereotypical British arrogance, characterized by Ronny Heaslop, clearly points out the potential for conflict. Ronny is offensively class distinctive, looking down upon people of lesser social and political influence. Even Mrs. Moore, a semi-hero of the people of India, fails to defend Aziz and Adela in their time of need. Your contempt for people such as Ronny and the Turtons is justifiable when compared to the merit-based views of the pivotal character Cyril Fielding. Fielding, a very intelligent and understanding, individual is sharply contrasted with Ronny and the rest of the British establishment. Cyril evaluates people based on their merit and self-worth, not on their class ranking. Fielding married to the daughter of the kind Mrs. Moore has much in common with his mother-in-law. They both were able to look past the different clothing and customs the Indian people represent and see them as fellow humans. Your grand portrayal of Fielding is a clear statement in support of Fielding's character and beliefs. Fielding as well as Aziz in some ways have an "understanding heart," which sees past the polarity of the two people. The friendship which develops between Aziz and Fielding at the conclusion of the novel, is symbolic of the potential harmony which could exist between the two fractions. However, as the novel comes to an end, the two parties are split by a fork in the road, signifying the impenetrable rift which would eventually bring the two societies to the brink of all out war. Sadly Mr. Foster, history has once again shown us that humans are not able to look past the differences which separate them, be they skin color, religion, dialects or social mannerisms. Myself being a religious Jew I know too well about the groundless hatred and animosity which exists when people differ from one another. Only twenty years after you wrote " A Passage to India", a war, spread across the entire globe, was fought because people could not resolve their differences. Why can't we all just get along?