Passage To India By Foster

In his novel A Passage to India, Forster uses a series of repeated
misunderstandings between cultures, which become hardened into social
stereotypes, to justify the uselessness of attempts to bridge cultural gulfs. In
many instances, the way in which language is used plays a great role in the
miscommunication between the English and the Indians, as well as among people of
the same culture. This is exemplified in the way in which people use the same
words, but do not hear the same meaning. It is also displayed through the

British characters Aziz meets and befriends, through a series of invitations and
through time and true mistakes. Upon Meeting the British: Two significant
instances of miscommunication occur when Aziz meets the British characters in
the novel that will end up being very close, yet controversial friends. Upon his
encountering Mrs. Moore at the Mosque, he sees a British woman and right away
develops a series of misconceptions about her. He believes that she is like all
other British women (bring up conversation on women being alike): ‘Madam, this
is a mosque, you have no right here at all; you should have taken off your
shoes; this is a holy place for Moslems.’ ‘I have taken them off.’ ‘You
have?’ ‘I left them at the entrance.’ ‘Then I ask your pardon. I am
truly sorry for speaking.’ ‘Yes, I was right, was I not? If I remove my
shoes, I am allowed?’ ‘Of course, but so few ladies take the trouble,
especially if thinking no one is there to see’ (18). What Aziz finds is the
unexpected fact that she is like Aziz in many ways, or as he describes her,

"Oriental" (21). Yet, when seeing this side of the British woman, he again
breaks his connection with her when she speaks of her son: ‘And why ever do
you come to Chandrapore?’ ‘To visit my son. He is the City Magistrate
here.’ ‘Oh no, excuse me, that is quite impossible. Our City Magistrate’s
name is Mr. Heaslop. I know him intimately.’ ‘He’s my son all the same,’
she said smiling, (19). It does not occur to Aziz that Mrs. Moore’s son may be
part of the Indian race. It is something that is not understandable at first.

Another British character that Aziz makes a connection with is Mr. Fielding.

When Aziz arrives at Fielding’s home to meet him for the first time, he has
the same type of miscommunication that he does with Mrs. Moore, yet is is
displayed in an opposite manner: "Lifting up his voice, he shouted from the
bedroom, ‘Please make yourself at home.’ The remark was unpremeditated, like
most of his actions; it was what he felt inclined to say. To Aziz it had a very
different meaning" (66). Aziz understands Fielding’s remark as a warm
invitation, whereas Fielding has a routine of making the remark. People Saying

One Thing and meaning another, usually just to be polite: A. Invitations The
matter of invitations in the novel creates a cultural misunderstanding between
the Indians and the British in the sense that the Indians make invitations just
to be polite, which the British take literally. This causes offense in some
cases to the British involved, whereas the Indians see it as a normal part of
their society. This is first apparent at the Bridge Party, where Adela and Mrs.

Moore are introduced to Mrs. Bhattacharya: When they took their leave, Mrs.

Moore had an impulse, and said to Mrs. Bhattacharya, whose face she liked, ‘I
wonder whether you would allow us to call on you some day.’ ‘When?’ she
replied, inclining charmingly. ‘Whenever is convenient.’ ‘All days are
convenient.’ ‘Thursday...’ ‘Most certainly.’... ‘What about the
time?’ ‘All hours.’ ‘Tell us which you would prefer.’ Mrs.

Bhattacharya seemed not to know either. Her gesture implied that she had known,
since Thursdays began, that English ladies would come to see her on one of them,
and so always stayed in. Everything pleased her, nothing surprised. She added,
‘We leave for Calcutta today.’ ‘Oh do you?’ said Adela, not at first
seeing the implication. Then she cried, ‘Oh, but if you do, we shall find you
gone.’ Mrs. Bhattacharya did not dispute it. (44). Mrs. Bhattacharya doesn’t
think of the invitation in the same way Adela does. The same is for Aziz when
inviting the two women to the Marabar caves. "He thought again of his bungalow
in horror. Good heavens, the stupid girl had taken him at his word! What was he
to do? ‘Yes, all that is settled,’ he cried.