Courseworks

How successful do you think the novel is in its critique of “Orientalist” stereotypes

The critique of the stereotypes in “A Passage to India” is shown to be clearly successful in characters’ appearances, personalities, and attitudes with each other, be it concerning different races or religion. The author brings the common stereotypes but with an underlining of why most of these stereotypes are usually misjudged. Adding the commonsensical idea that even with these stereotypes applied on Indians, there are others who are against the “norm”. However, one would notice even with such sympathy, Forster also seems to cling to a few stereotypical characteristics.Forster’s description within the novel brings out more than a successful critique of stereotypes within these two cultures. His main character, Dr. Aziz is represented greatly within the first few chapters of his introduction. The author not only represents how the majority of the Muslim Indian population’s characteristics and appearance in just one person, but in addition, he has woven into these simple features the emotions and mentality too. One would notice that suggestion immediately through a particular description of Dr. Aziz.”Rather small, with a little mustache and quick eyes.”This representation would quickly strike the reader, not only does it have the stereotypical image of the “Indian” man, but the description of the eyes also indicate something much more than what is skin deep. Forster had cleverly represented hostility and awareness that these Indians are feeling because of the British occupation of their homes and lands, with many beliefs by the British -even the author himself- thinking that this country is simply a muddle of culture that needs to be attended and “raised” by the westerners.An interesting twist of the critique against the common “Orientalist” stereotypes would be Professor Godbole’s character. Godbole is presented as the Hindu representative of the Indian population, and his beliefs and action give off a different tone than the normally hostile, fearful and almost cowardly feeling that most British people assume Indians would, and probably should have. His spirituality and his own deep belief in his faith sets him aloof from others and his indifferent attitude towards the Englishmen shows certain strength that the author brilliantly portrays in such a character.However, as much as the author seems to favor the Indian culture over his own, there are some slight and almost unnoticed stereotypes that are probably deeply interlaced because of the author’s English roots. One would notice this suggestion in the bridge party where the author portrays an Indian woman with her husband almost forcing themselves to accept Mrs. Moore’s self-invite to their house. Many would imply that Mrs. Moore meant the self-invite as a lax gesture of kindness, but it might suggest there is still fear, whereas Aziz and Godbole seemingly present the braver side of Indians and the representatives of the majority, the Indian couple represent the more passive side of India – where the stereotype applies and remains, in a way, they apply what Ronny said to his mother:”India likes gods. And Englishmen like posing as gods.”Moreover, to continue pointing out the critiques, even as supportive and sympathetic towards the Indians, it still had a hint of plain stereotyping. This can be seen when Mr. Fielding describes India as a “Muddle”. Even with Mr. Fielding’s tight connections with Indians and friendship with Godbole, he was somewhat like the delegate of the author’s opinions. The said opinion of India shows in a subliminal way that even while becoming sympathetic, the common stereotype and assumed idea of Indians not being able to govern their own country is seen in that particular part of the novel, and can be explainable that even when someone changes their mind, in the back of their heads, they still will automatically assume something of that kind or another.Froster represents the British in a very stereotypical manner, with the exceptions of the few like Mrs. Moore and Adela to dilute the slight stereotypes within the Indian culture. This clever trick is indeed both a cover up and an honest approach to the readers because while the author tries to seem evenhanded between the two cultures, he notices that even with his attempt, he cannot become totally unbiased, hence he might have used the overstressing emphasis on the British to water down the stereotypes he could not get rid of.Overall, the author was successful in the majority of his attempts, but within the lines and between them, Forster still had some ideas previously about the orientalist culture; yet it is explainable and justified by the fact that he is after all human, and everybody whether a saint or else, would be judging a person absentmindedly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top
x

Hi!
I'm Jamie!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out