A Passage to India | Study Guide

E. M. Forster

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A Passage to India | Part 2, Chapter 15 ((Caves)) | Summary



Aziz and Adela visit some caves; Aziz thinks about the breakfast while Adela ponders her impending marriage and life with Ronny. But then Adela pauses and decides she and Ronny do not love each other. She is startled and vexed, and Aziz asks if he is walking too fast. When she asks Aziz if he is married, he says he is and invites her to visit his wife. She asks about his children, and he tells her that he has three. She then asks him if he has more than one wife. He answers he has only one, but he is deeply offended by the question, the issue of monogamy having been only recently settled in his community. Rattled, he ducks into a cave, and she enters another, still thinking about marriage.


Forster here presents interior monologues to set the stage for the public interactions. Adela realizes her mistake with Ronny; a mere touch at a car's jolt is not the same as love. Not really thinking about Aziz, she asks him about marriage and inadvertently insults him by referring to polygamy, a practice Muslims such as Aziz think of as part of their past, not their present. Once again, by inviting Adela to meet his wife, he is maintaining truth of mood: in the moment it is more important to express his desire to introduce Adela to his wife than to be accurate about facts.

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