The narrator explains the circumstances of Mrs. Moore’s death—she was buried at sea, even farther south than where the ship left from. The ship seemed to have bad luck afterwards, as if her ghost lingered on, but the ghost seemed to be “shaken off” when the ship reached Europe. Meanwhile in Chandrapore, a legend springs up that Ronny killed his mother because she tried to save Aziz’s life. Two different tombs are reported to contain “Esmiss Esmoor,” and people start to leave small offerings at them.
Forster presents the “cult” of Esmiss Esmoor as superstitious and essentially foolish, but at its heart is a powerful truth—the memory of Mrs. Moore and what she has come to represent lingers in Chandrapore, and her actual spiritual presence seems to still exist, particularly for those who knew her. Even Godbole, who barely met her, will sense her again years later.
Ronny knows that he treated his mother badly at the end, but he doesn’t feel like repenting, so he continues to be irritated at her. He even blames her for continuing to cause trouble with her tombs and cults. He assumes that she is in heaven now, but his religion is of the “sterilized Public School brand,” and he avoids thinking about anything too deep or supernatural. He plans on putting up a simple plaque in England with his half-brother and –sister, and that will be enough of a memorial.
Adela and Fielding are nonreligious because of their personal experiences and beliefs, while Ronny is officially Christian but nonspiritual just because that’s how everyone else is, and he must “toe the line.” He has shifted very far from his mother by now, and is a true Anglo-Indian clinging to the English herd.
Ronny hopes that Adela will decide to break off their engagement and leave India too. He cannot marry her now without ruining his career, but he hopes that she will take the initiative in politely backing out and leaving. She remains at Fielding’s college, an embarrassment to herself and the English, as the Turtons won’t take her back. Aziz is suing her for damages, and Ronny decides to save any discussion about their relationship for after a decision is made regarding the lawsuit.
Ronny’s concern is now with his career in India, and he doesn’t want to be associated with Adela after she “betrayed” her people (by telling the truth) at the trial. Adela did the right thing at a difficult time, but she is ultimately rejected by both the Indians and the English.