Confusion: Being English in Colonial India

How amazing is A Passage to India?  Self can barely stand to read it during the day, for she wants to read when she summon utmost concentration.

This evening, son had dinner elsewhere, and The Man declared he was not hungry.  After nibbling on a few leftovers, self quickly retreated to her little “office.”

Self is now on Chapter 7.  The character being described is an English expatriate named Mr. Fielding.  He arouses contradictory emotions in the Englishmen he encounters in India:

. . .  the men tolerated him because of his good heart and strong body; it was their wives who decided that he was not a sahib really. They disliked him.  He took no notice of them, and this, which would have passed without comment in feminist England, did him harm in a community where the male is expected to be lively and helpful.  Mr. Fielding never advised one about dogs or horses, or dined, or paid his midday calls, or decorated trees for one’s children at Christmas, and though he came to the club, it was only to get his tennis or billiards, and to go.  This was true.  He had discovered that it is possible to keep up with Indians and Englishmen, but that he who would also keep in with Englishwomen must drop the Indians.  The two wouldn’t combine.  Useless to blame either party, useless to blame them for blaming one another.  It just was so, and one had to choose.

Now that is what self considers truly marvelous writing.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

1 Comment

  1. September 10, 2013 at 7:37 am

    So perceptive – didn’t know “feminist” word was already in – Forster depicts the two separate and unequal worlds so well.


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