A Passage to India


E. M. Forster

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A Passage to India: Style 1 key example

Explanation and Analysis:

Forster wrote A Passage to India in a relatively realistic style. The straightforward narrative contains events that appear in a logical order. The structure of each sentence remains relatively simple. And the accurate presentation of dialogue, including the idiom of English-speaking Indians, makes the story's events seem entirely possible in real life.

However, Forster's style sometimes becomes rather poetic, especially when he describes the landscape of India. For instance, he talks about the sky in grand terms in Chapter 1 to establish its importance as a symbol of mystical power and unity. According to the narrator, "when the sky chooses, glory can rain into the Chandrapore bazaars or a benediction pass from horizon to horizon." Repetition of the word horizon, figurative language that personifies the sky as a powerful goddess, and alliteration between "bazaars" and "benediction," all give the text a poetic feel.

Notably, Forster avoided the experimental styles of his contemporaries like Virginia Woolf (who wrote Mrs. Dalloway) and T. S. Eliot (who wrote The Wasteland). Like other modernists, he took an interest in the chaotic shifts of a dramatically changing world in the latter part of the 20th century, but he focused on portraying modern chaos through setting, imagery, and characterization rather than stylistic innovation.