Book Notes Chapter 5 Notes from A Passage to India

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A Passage to India Chapter 5

The Bridge Party turns out to be unsuccessful by Adela and Mrs. Moore's standards. A large group of Indian guests arrives early and must wait idly for the British hosts. Mrs. Turton and Ronny laugh sarcastically about the party's turnout. Meanwhile, Adela and Mrs. Moore gaze sadly at the Indians:

"No, it was not picturesque; the East, abandoning its secular magnificence, was descending into a valley whose farther side no man can see." Chapter 5, pg. 39

Topic Tracking: West vs. East 4

Mrs. Turton reluctantly hosts a group of Indian women. She addresses them in Urdu using lingo she learned to address her servants. She does not know any polite expressions, only commands. Adela is very interested in conversing with the Indians and tells them she regrets not speaking their language. One woman in the crowd says she speaks English. This delights Adela but makes Mrs. Turton act coldly because she now knows someone in the group is westernized and might apply her own standards to her. Adela and Mrs. Moore befriend one woman, Mrs. Bhattacharya. They ask to call on her for a social visit. Mrs. Bhattacharya and her husband invite them despite the fact they were due to be away at the time. The exchange is awkward and Mrs. Moore and Adela feel badly that they have imposed on the Bhattacharyas. Mr. Fielding is the most successful Englishman of the party, comfortably mingling with the Indian guests. He hears about the graciousness of the ladies and wishes to meet them. When he meets them, he complains to them about the way the English treat the Indians. He invites them to meet some Indian people that he knows. Adela suggests to Fielding that he should invite Dr. Aziz. Later, when Ronny is alone with his mother, Mrs. Moore tells Ronny that he should spend more private time with Adela. He tells his mother that he worries about how people will talk about them. Mrs. Moore tells Ronny Adela is too much of an individual to care about what other people say. They also talk about the issue of treatment of the Indians. Ronny treats this as a "side issue." Mrs. Moore is annoyed by his behavior and tells him that Englishmen behave as Gods in India.

He replies he has no time to be pleasant to Indians because he is there on a duty for England. Mrs. Moore still believes that they should be pleasant to the Indians "[b]ecause India is part of the earth. And God has put us on the earth in order to be pleasant to each other. God is love." Chapter 5, pg. 53

Topic Tracking: Religion 3

Ronny sees his mother's religious thoughts as a symptom of her old age and growing senility--he only approves of religion if it endorses the state.

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