A Passage to India

A Passage to India

A Passage to India Part 2, Chapter 27 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
It is late that same night, and most of the partiers at Aziz’s victory celebration are asleep on the Nawab Bahadur’s roof. Fielding and Aziz talk sleepily, lying side by side on the roof and looking at the stars. Aziz wants to travel with Fielding, and promises to pay for everything once he gets his money from Adela. Fielding starts to talk, but Aziz cuts him off, knowing what he will say—that Aziz should not make Adela pay anything more than the legal costs. Aziz says that he no longer cares what the English think of him, though, so he doesn’t need to impress them by being chivalrous. He says he has become “anti-British” now.
The naïve Aziz who was so pleased to act as a tour guide for British guests is gone. He is actively anti-British now, caring nothing for the colonists’ opinion of him. The split between the two men begins with this debate over money. Fielding sees the twenty thousand rupees as unnecessarily cruel, especially now that he has come to respect Adela, while Aziz gets carried away with his victory and dislike of the unemotional, unattractive Adela.
Themes
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Aziz then changes the subject, and for a while they enjoy the “blessings of leisure,” something which is unfamiliar to Western culture. Fielding is dressed in Indian clothes, but he knows he will always feel awkward and out of place in them compared to the graceful Indians. After a while Fielding presses on and does advise Aziz to not make Adela pay reparations. He says that he understands her better now, and sees that she acted bravely in going against the strong influence of her English compatriots. He requests that Aziz be merciful.
Forster observes more cultural differences between the Indians and English as part of the ethnographical aspect of the novel. The division in leisure and gracefulness then leads into a more personal difference in terms of Fielding and Aziz’s disparate reactions to Adela. Fielding recognizes Adela’s bravery in choosing honesty over social pressure, while Aziz dislikes the lack of emotion in such a choice.
Themes
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Friendship Theme Icon
Division vs. Unity Theme Icon
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Aziz says he can’t be merciful until he receives an apology, and then he mocks Adela for her ugliness. Fielding cuts off the conversation, saying that Aziz’s sexual snobbery is the one thing about he “can’t put up with.” After a long silence Aziz says that he will consult with Mrs. Moore, and then do whatever she advises regarding Adela. He praises Mrs. Moore extravagantly, again saying that she is a true “Oriental.”
The cultural divides grow between the two men in this conversation, as Aziz lets his dislike of Adela run wild while simultaneously growing expansive in his adoration for Mrs. Moore. Fielding cannot understand why Aziz would hate one woman and love the other, when one saved him and one never helped him at all.
Themes
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Fielding points out that Aziz’s emotions are not “in proportion to their objects”—Aziz praises and loves Mrs. Moore, who never really did anything tangible to help him, but he hates Adela, who actually saved him. Aziz criticizes Fielding’s rational approach to emotion, comparing feelings to a sack of potatoes, measuring love out by the pound. He doesn’t understand Fielding’s materialism, while Fielding doesn’t understand Aziz’s unfairness.
This is essentially Forster’s critique of what he sees as an essentially Indian quality—Aziz places too much value on his emotions and the perceived intentions of others, to the point that he is cruel to Adela, who basically sacrificed her social standing to save him, while still adoring Mrs. Moore, who did nothing to actually help him.
Themes
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Aziz’s time in prison has made him less flighty and more strong-willed, and he presses on in the conversation, wanting to talk more about Mrs. Moore. Finally Fielding cannot put up with the lie anymore, and he tells Aziz that Mrs. Moore has died. Hamidullah overhears him, though, and quickly interrupts to say that Fielding is joking. Aziz believes Hamidullah. Fielding doesn’t press the issue, but muses on how a person isn’t truly dead until they are “felt to be dead.” In this way Mrs. Moore has escaped death somehow, because her death is not really felt or believed. Eventually the men fall asleep.
Aziz no longer panders to Englishmen, and though his friendship with Fielding is starting to splinter, at least the two men respect each other as equals by now. By escaping the factual truth about her death and living on in the emotional truth of her continued presence, Mrs. Moore becomes immortal in a way, and becomes even more of a mystical and spiritual figure in the novel.
Themes
“Muddles” and Mysteries Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Division vs. Unity Theme Icon
Race and Culture Theme Icon