A Passage to India

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A Passage to India Part 2, Chapter 32 Summary & Analysis

Fielding enjoys his journey back to Europe, and when the ship docks at Venice, he can’t help admiring the beauty of the architecture. He feels almost disloyal to India in doing so, but the buildings of Venice all seem to be “in the right place,” whereas the Indian temples and even the hills themselves seem lumpy and formless. He writes post cards to his Indian friends, but feels that they will not be able to share his joy in European architecture, as they do not have proper appreciation for “civilization that has escaped muddle.” Fielding finally arrives in England in the spring, and feels old romantic feelings rekindled within himself.
This is Forster’s most explicit use of architecture as an example of cultural difference. Forster, like Fielding, takes comfort in the form and beauty of Venetian architecture. For Forster, such beauty is an example of a positive result of the logic and rationality of the Western mindset, while India’s architecture, by contrast, represents the worst of the country’s “muddle,” as it feels formless and random. Forster looks ahead to Fielding’s marriage.
“Muddles” and Mysteries Theme Icon
Division vs. Unity Theme Icon
Race and Culture Theme Icon