Modernism Elements in a Passage to India
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Modernism Elements in a Passage to India


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In Study Unit 2 of the Study Guide, Alistair Brown writes that 'The novel draws attention to its own modes of representation and in this sense is a self-conscious formal arrangement [which are] a common feature of modernist art'. Briefly discuss this quotation and then  examine the passage below and determine how E. M. Forster uses different narrative styles to  create a variety of tones and effects. Remember to formulate a relevant thesis statement and  demonstrate proper analysis of evidence from the text.


The early 20th century was a period of rapid innovation, and breaking grounds; and the world of literature was not left behind. The period of 1910-1960s was a time of globalization, wars and industrialization, which made many question the humanity. At such time literature became a voice of question, and the writers reacted to the modernist sentiments through speaking of consciousness and, a sense of self (Patrick, para 1). While, many writers collaged their own styles to the modern themes, many used symbolisms to share deeper meanings, add codes and multiple layers to their works (Patrick, para 4). Though the course of this review, we look at the work of Edward Morgan Forster in 'A Passage to India', and discern how he discovers personal relations amidst the complexity of modern world through symbolism, sense of consciousness, realism, imagery and multiple voices. A passage to India is a tapestry of modernism, where Foster has shared the complexities of the two very different societies (Mohammad and Al-Deen, p.2). 

In the context of this work, Alistair Brown' reflected 'The novel draws attention to its own modes of representation and in this sense is a self-conscious formal arrangement – [which are] a common feature of modernist art'. A modern literature often encompasses tools such as delayed decoding which leaves the readers to interpret the meaning in a deeper sense, much beyond the literary presentation (Bewernick, p. 85). Through this work, Foster has shared the duality of the people, which though not obvious, is all but a conclusion of the work. Through the present essay the difficult yet, intriguing extracts from the passage to India is deciphered which shows that despite being a writer, Foster could not separate himself from the world, and he thus wrote what he decrypted about the society, thus interjecting a stream of consciousness to this work. 


Elements of modernism in a passage to India 

Every writer brings forth a unique interpretation and perspective to a topic though their work. In this sense, Bewernick (p. 92), notes that the neural elements of the memory of the storyteller have an impact on the image they paint. Looking at the perspectives of a modern writer, one reflects that most of them incorporates elements of originality and creativity to their work (Patrick, para.5). These elements when shared with a reader allows multiple fields of interpretations, and in this sense provides something different to the reader, each time they read the work. This attribute has been evident in the 'Passage to India' that shares the elements of difficulty of the India-English friendship, and the insights of the people who believe that people are important, yet the relationships are not (Mohammad and Al-Deen, p.2).

When Foster, shares the interest of Adela to fashion a bridge party that invites both Indians as well as British, her interest is not that of knowing a new culture and reducing cultural disparity, or becoming more aware of a new culture, which she claims otherwise (Foster, p.30). Rather it is to appear as liberal, modern and inclusive (Borchardt, p.30). Even as she herself raise concerns over the lack of consideration and acceptance amongst the British for even the educated Indian class, her concerns are mostly intellectual, and not emotional, as is evident from her failure to thwart the 'echoing walls of [Indian's] civility' (Foster, p.34).

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