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A Passage to India | Study Guide

E. M. Forster

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A Passage to India | Part 1, Chapter 10 ((Mosque)) | Summary



This very short chapter takes a break from all the intense focus on the world of humans and instead looks at the natural world, which is being affected by the advancing heat of the coming summer. The narrator first mentions a squirrel, and then some brown birds, and then says, "It matters so little to the majority of living beings what the minority, that calls itself human, desires or decides." The seven men emerging from Aziz's bungalow, despite their divergent opinions, are all similarly oppressed by the hot weather. With April, the sun returns, but without beauty.


Like the novel's first chapter, Chapter 10 focuses on the natural world, to which the human world is merely incidental and unimportant. The sun, traditionally represented as a source of beauty in British literature, is here seen as something cruel and oppressive. Whereas the British literary tradition regards nature as a place where humans become more whole, in India it is a place where humans feel insignificant and lost. The approach of the hot weather has been hinted at before this and will become a much more prominent factor as the novel progresses.

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