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E. M. FORSTER'S UNIVERSAL VISION IN A PASSAGE TO INDIA

Title
E. M. FORSTER'S UNIVERSAL VISION IN A PASSAGE TO INDIA
Authors
오순정
Issue Date
1964
Department/Major
대학원 영어영문학과
Publisher
이화여자대학교 대학원
Degree
Master
Abstract
Through his dealing with the basic theme of the inadequate heart, the themes of the stupidities of the english Class rule, of anti-imperialism, Forster attempts to arrive at the truth with his tough insight and his power of intuitive consciousness. Although he only represents the truth but no difficulties it must face, in The Longest Journey, and in A Room with a View, he displays a lot of difficult troubles which the truth must meet in this world, in A Passage to India. Man's limited ability, the difficult union of the dual world, the snobbery of civilised people, and the inconsistant human relation between two different countries, are objectively delineated within the vivid, public, simple pattern. A Passage to India deals not only with the personal imagination, the individual emotion, but with the political conflict, the racial hostility. These are well organised with the rigor of its objectivity, seeking and finding truth. the novel achieves the final expansion for which he has always sought. The dualism, Christianity, Hinduism, produce the prophetic voice, which contributes to the perception of aupor-normal things in Forster's work. The phenomenal and transcondent worlds are moving with the opposed forces, Good and Evil, Life and Death, Intelligence and Stupidity in his novels. His view of life is always confronted by death; he suggests that death is the only escape from the snob-world, the world of the undeveloped heart, from the phenomenal world; and that after despair, some good is to come, and man's eternal life is involved with his abnogation, death. These views of his give an appearance of mysticism to his work, but Forster is not a mystic writer in any precise sense of the word. For he expresses the difference confronted with the absolutes, by means of struggle. Accordingly his plots are always sharp and definite. The plots move forward to grand simplicities with the reliable descriptions. But he deals the absolutes with comic manner the plot speaks of clear certainties, but the manner insists nothing can be so simple. In other words, the plot suggests the eternal divisions, the manner only reconciliation. The plot, to be sure, is as precise and decisive as a judicial opinion, the manner as impulsive and perceptive as ideological opinion. In A Passage to India, Forster conveys a scent, whether of mystery, beauty, or sinister terror, with power of vivid transmission of odd and beautiful scenes, and, here and there, of some poetic passage derived from the artist's vision. The mystery, beauty of the tropical sone, its heat, its sky and sun, the mosque in noonlight, the Marabar Hills, the magnificent scene of Krishna festival, are surprisingly described with the precise, clear words, and poetic verses, written that they may give the unifying effect to the whole context of the novel. As Forster remarks in "Anonymity", a pamphlet issued in 1925, "Creation comes from the depths' …poetry speaks to man's soul , its sources is the depths of the sea, he uses poetry, if necessary, either for man's soul or for the significant harmony of the temporary and eternal worlds. That harmony demands his mystic vision as well. But never he attains the mystic vision except perceiving only at intervals. He himself, therefore, can never obviously impart us, as Godbole accounts for his perception at the moment of birth daring the Krishna festival: But the human spirit had tried by a desperate contortion to ravish the unkown, flinging down science and history in the struggle, yes, beauty herself. Did it succeed? Books written afterwards say "yes." But how, if there is such an event, can it be remembered afterwards? How can it be expressed in anything but itself? Not only from the unbeliever are mysteries hid, but the adapt himself cannot retain them. He may think, if he chooses, that he has been with God, but as soon as he thinks it, it becomes history, and fails under the rules of time. Just all forster he can do is to hint us the presence of the transcendent truth. Here is his sense of divine order. In his novels, the divine order comes from his own detachment from human reality, like he declares the artist, as the 19th century conceived him, should be an outsider and Bohemian. His divine order is concerned with order of universe, in his work, and further with the order of art, which is the truest work of man in this world, as he says in "The New Disorder": (A work of art) is the only material object in the universe which may possess internal harmony. All the others have been pressed into shape from outside, and when their mould is removed they collapse. The work of art stands by itself, and nothing else does. It achieves something which has often been promised by society but always delusively. And furthermore, he goes to the root of art's nature: Art for Art's sake? I should think so, and more so than ever at the present time. It is the one orderly product which our muddling race has produced. It is the cry of a thousand labyrinths, it is the lighthouse which cannot be hidden: Forster thinks that art is the sign of man's latent ability to make even the right social order, though it cannot be produced by social order, for the order of society, however good, is the order of force. His idea that "Order" does not produce order but only it is produced by the vital mess is implied through the blessed union of Hindus in the Birth ceremony, and reversely through revealing the confusion of British imperial system. The dissolution of the British Empire, no doubt, takes its part in making A Passage to India tragic. More than it, however, ill breeding, the miserable tragedy of manners and of heart, is largely the tragedy of this novel, as he remarks in his article, "Too Late," "Never in history did ill-breeding contribute so much toward the dissolution of an Empire." The tragedy of A Passage to India is mainly due to the theme of separateness in the human relationships: that is, the separation of race from race, culture from culture, sex from sex, even of man from himself, is what underlines every relationship. Adela, the charmless, honest, slightly priggish young woman and Bonny, officially aggressive, cannot meet in sociality, and Mrs. Moore is separated from her son, from all people, even from God. Fielding finds himself apart from his loving young wife, soon after marriage. At the end of the book, Fielding and Aziz also racially keep British and Indians apart. As I mentioned before, what Forster is most concerned in his work is the relations between human beings. Since he believes in the permanent value and importance of human beings, he delineates their relationships with one another, stressing on the value of their inner hearts, which are affectionately developed. So he does prefer humanistic emotion to unhumanistic intelligence. As for him, intelligence has some virtues which can be a source of life, but it also can be treacherous at certain intensities, as Adela feels, "In Europe life retreats out of the cold, and exquisite firesider myths have resulted-Balder, persephone-but here the retreat is from the source of life, the treacherous sun.…" And he disbelieves the strictness of order and law may, at certain times, be the best mean of asserting the intellect and order and law, in the following paragraph; Men…desire that joy shall be graceful and sorrow August and infinity have a form, and India fails to accommodate them. The annual helter-skelter of April, when irritability and lust spread like a canker is one of her comments on the orderly hopes of humanity. Fish manage better; fish, as the tanks dry, wriggle into the mud and wait for the rains to uncake them. But man try to be harmonious all the year round, and the results are occasionally disastrous. The triumphant machine of civilization may suddenly hitch and be immobilised into a car of stone,… As Trilling declares, no one has expressed so simply as Forster the weariness with the intellectual tradition of Europe which has been a problem of European psyche since early in the 19th century. He is one of those writers who assert the moral intelligence of art against the panic and emptiness produced by the will tired from its own excess. He always insists "relax," as in the glorified scene of relaxation during the Krishna festival. And he blames the intense morality, and strict ethics of English middle class, and absolute rule of the public schools. Detached from these, from the social traditions, Fielding can achieve his personal relationships by the free opportunity enough to "travel light." Forster's belief in relaxed will and in his suspiciousness of intellect is well related with his own ironical detachment from human reality, through A Passage to India, which is one of the outstanding literary works of the twentieth century.
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