Wasps are mentioned occasionally throughout the novel, and their appearance signifies the theme of the oneness of all living things, especially in the Hindu vision of pantheism. The wasp associates Mrs. Moore with Hinduism for the first time when she watches one in her room and feels an appreciation and love for it. Years later, Professor Godbole thinks of both Mrs. Moore and the wasp when filled with religious ecstasy and love for all living things. The wasp generally represents the “lowest” of creatures that can be incorporated into the vision of oneness—Godbole tries to include a stone in his universal love, but cannot. Thus the wasp is also symbolic of the limits of the idea of unity, which is not a perfect solution, but still a hopeful one for India politically and for the characters’ internal struggles.
A Passage to India
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The timeline below shows where the symbol Wasps appears in A Passage to India. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 3
Part 1, Chapter 4
...He has discussed this with his Hindu friends, but he is unwilling to consider allowing wasps, plants, bacteria, or mud into heaven. Mr. Sorley feels that “we must exclude someone from... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 33