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As an author, E.M. Forster is notable for his unique perspective on society as a whole.

His
ability to place himself in the situation of any subject was crucial in writing many of his finest
novels including A Passage to India, A Room With a View, and Maurice. His use of narrative
voice, literary devices, descriptions, vocabulary, and dialogue all combine to create an
incomparable style all Forsters own.

Narrative Voice< namespace="" prefix="o" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-


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A Passage to India, often considered to be Forsters finest novel, is told through a
third-person omniscient point of view (Answers.com). This helps a reader to better understand
all of the characters and their motivations. It also creates a greater opportunity to connect with
the characters on an emotional level. For example, when Aziz is frantically planning out how
exactly he will entertain the English women, the reader actually feels the doctors frustration
and anxiety. Forsters choice of narration, especially in this story, is very effective overall.

Literary Devices
E.M. Forsters writing in A Passage to India is full of literary devices, all used to their
fullest extent to add to the overall tone of the book. The narration abounds with similes,
metaphors, personification, and symbolism. In fact, one of the most important recurring
elements in the book is the haunting bou-oum and ou-boum which Mrs. Moore thinks
causes the cave to seem to be stuffed with a snake composed of many small snakes
(Forster 163). This noise, an onomatopoeia, is integral to the occurrences in the story. Without
this noise, Ms. Quested would not have been exposed to the opportunity that allowed the
guide to take advantage of her, sparking a controversy that affects the characters for years to
come.

Descriptions
E.M. Forsters descriptions are highly typical of the time period. His descriptions are
very verbose, sometimes too much so. He spends the initial portions of each successive
section of A Passage to India giving a detailed description of the location in which the portion
of the story takes place. Though sometimes overdone, Forsters writing is nevertheless
stirring and beautiful. It is obvious throughout the book that he had reached the height of his
career as a novelist, which is ironic considering A Passage to India is the last full piece of
fiction Forster penned. Long accounts of how the mountains rose, their debris silted up the
ocean, the gods took their seats on them and contrived the river, and the India we call
immemorial came into being are common and continue into long, drawn-out sections of
flowery prose (Forster 135). His use of detail is exceptional, and though < namespace=""
prefix="st1" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" xml="true">India was not his
homeland, one gets the feeling Forster knows his setting well.

Vocabulary
The vocabulary in Forsters best-known work is sometimes highly sophisticated. Other
times, the vocabulary, though old-fashioned, is easy to understand. Because of the liberal
peppering of high-level vocabulary, Forster is difficult to understand. There are times, even,
where the pacing of the plot suffers because of the authors insistence on beefing up the
vocabulary as much as possible. Overall, though Forsters vocabulary is undisputedly
large, its usage does nothing to add to the effectiveness of his style as an author.
Theme
Forster showed throughout his career a preference for writing about human nature,
especially where society as a whole is concerned. His fiction was mainly conservative in
form (Columbia Encyclopedia). Basic human interaction and the subtleties involved
especially seem to have intrigued him. This is especially true in A Passage to India, which
concerns colonialism and the effects on all involved. Forster seemed to take great pleasure in
dissecting the various effects of imperialism and colonialism in native and invading societies.
Forsters style is, overall, fairly typical of the time period in which he wrote. He used
some elements of his style unusually well though, and through his narrative voice, use of
literary devices, descriptions, vocabulary, and theme, he communicated the basic ideas of
human nature he was most concerned with.

Forster's narrative style is straightforward; events follow one another in logical order.
Structurally, his sentence style also is relatively uncomplicated, and he reproduces accurately
the tones of human conversation; his handling of the idiom of the English-speaking Indian is
especially remarkable.

However, Forster's rhetorical style is far from unsubtle. His descriptions of the landscape,
however unattractive it may be, frequently have a poetic rhythm. He makes lavish use of
both satire and irony, and the satire is especially biting in his treatment of the English
colonials, particularly in the events before the trial in the "Caves" section. But he is also
capable of gentle humor, notably in his depiction of the high-spirited and volatile Aziz.

As has been noted earlier, there are numerous themes and symbols such as the wasp, the
echo, the "Come come" of Godbole's song which recur throughout the novel; these are not
introduced in an obvious fashion, and it is not until the end of the book that their full
significance is apparent.

Some of the statements in the book are in the form of questions to which answers are
obvious; but for many of them no answers are suggested or even implied an indication of
the philosophical nature of the novel. Forster is not the man with all the answers, and
perhaps he is implying that he himself is not certain whether life is (in the terms he
frequently uses) "mystery or muddle" or both.

Third Person/Omniscient
Object 1

The narrator weaves seamlessly between different characters' points of view in its attempt to
give a multi-faceted account of events. The narrator tends to speak with authority on the
characters, explaining in great detail the characters' psychology and cultural background. The
narrator seems almost god-like, particularly when discussing the characters' diverse religious
experiences with ease.
Modernism, Literary Fiction

Forster's A Passage to India is perhaps the most Modernist of his novels with its emphasis on
the complex interior life of the characters, experimentation with interweaving, complicated
plots, use of recurring images and symbols, and its questioning of conventional modes of
representing reality, as the novel constantly emphasizes that whatever we call reality is an
elusive commodity. These qualities also establish the novel as literary fiction, and the novel is
often considered Forster's masterpiece.

Objective, but Interested

Object 2

The tone of the novel tends to be objective, as if it were trying to present an unbiased view of
the characters. This tone is especially useful when we get to the trial scene, where nobody
seems to be thinking clearly and everybody seems to be on the verge of hysteria. On the
other hand, it's not as if the novel were completely disinterested, either. It strikes a
sympathetic note here and there, particularly when a character struggles to grapple with the
big questions in life, what Fielding calls the "muddle."

Sophisticated, Poetic

Object 3

Despite the heavy political themes of the novel, Forster's A Passage to India is dense with the
kind of figurative language that we usually associate with poetry. In one of the more
breathtaking passages, Forster describes the reflection of a flame against the highly reflective
surface of a Marabar cave:

The two flames approach and strive to unite, but cannot, because one of them breathes air,
the other stone. A mirror inlaid with lovely colours divides the lovers, delicate stars of pink
and grey interpose, exquisite nebulae, shadings fainter than the tail of a comet or the midday
moon, all the evanescent life of the granite, only here visible. (2.12.4)

Swoon. To bring the cold, hard granite to "evanescent life," the novel makes us see how the
flames bring out the different shades of color refracted off the minerals in the stone. By
describing the myriad inflections of color in granite, the narrator doesn't take away anything
from granite. In fact, it does the complete opposite by making an ordinary material
extraordinary. Forster's writing style serves one of the general themes of the novel: art is a
way of giving form to the "muddle," of helping us make sense of the world around us. The
best works of art use form not to exclude the muddle, but to embrace the muddle, to always
direct the reader's attention beyond the comfortable safety of the familiar, to the unfamiliar
and strange.