A Passage to India | Study Guide

E. M. Forster

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A Passage to India | Part 2, Chapter 23 ((Caves)) | Summary



Lady Mellanby, the Lieutenant-Governor's wife, offers Mrs. Moore a place in her cabin on a ship to England, much to Ronny's relief and his mother's satisfaction. Ronny is also pleased that his name has become familiar to high officials in the government. However, since her experience in the cave, Mrs. Moore is apathetic about everything: "She had come to that state where the horror of the universe and its smallness are both visible at the same time." She longs to be "one with the universe," but feels bogged down by all the petty duties to which she must attend. From her detached perspective, she views the assault in the cave as love and feels annoyed by all the attention being paid to Adela. On her journey to Bombay, she sees some beautiful sights; they leave her wishing she had seen more of "the hundred Indias." On the ship, Lady Mellanby warns her to keep out of the advancing heat.


Since the echo in the cave, Mrs. Moore has been having a sort of existential crisis, in which nothing she formerly cared about seems important. It seems as if she has taken on a detached, philosophical view of the world—not unlike Godbole's.

Her journey to Bombay may be compared to the journey to the Marabar Caves; the latter was undertaken with the intention of "seeing India," but when she experiences the former, she realizes she has not really seen India at all, and that there are "hundreds" of Indias.

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