A Passage To India Essay Topics

Topic #1
In a 1938 essay, Forster declared, “...if I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.” Demonstrate the ways in which Fielding’s actions in the novel are consistent with this statement.

I. Thesis Statement: A Passage to India illustrates the paramount value of friendship, even when it conflicts with group loyalty

II. Fielding’s friendship with Aziz must surmount many obstacles
A. The cultural and ethnic gap between them, reinforced by social structures
B. Many acquaintances attempt to undermine the friendship
C. They frequently misunderstand each other

III. Although other Anglo-Indians brand Fielding as a traitor, he sides with Aziz
A. He believes Aziz is innocent
B. He defies his own group to defend Aziz

IV. The friendship between Aziz and Fielding survives rumors and years of separation
A. After they are reunited, Aziz abandons his suspicious attitude
B. Fielding forgives him
C. Their friendship is so strong that it allows for conflict based on their differing group identities
D. Although the time and place will not allow their friendship to flourish, both men acknowledge the strength of their bond

Topic #2
Miss Quested repeatedly says that the mystery of what happened in the caves will never be solved. Some readers believed that Aziz might have been guilty of an assault, or at least a sexual advance, on her. Use the facts presented in the novel, and its narrative technique, to refute this charge.


(The entire section is 679 words.)

Part I, Chapters I – III
1. Compare and contrast the ways in which social cohesiveness is maintained among the Muslims and the Anglo-Indians. Include a description of their social habits, attitudes, and opinions.

2. Discuss the phenomenon of the outsider. Who are the actual and potential outsiders in the novel? In what way are the Muslims and the English outsiders to each other?

Part I, Chapters IV – VI
1. Religion can be either a matter of outward observance or deep inward feeling. Contrast the religious beliefs of Mr. Sorley and Mr. Graysford, Ronny Heaslop, Aziz, and Mrs. Moore.

2. Exclusion is a social mechanism that maintains the cohesiveness of a social group. Discuss ways in which exclusion is promoted in A Passage to India. Which characters attempt to work toward inclusion rather than exclusion? Give your opinion on whether exclusion is always undesirable or whether it is sometimes necessary.

Part I, Chapter VII
1. Do you think Fielding’s party was a success or a failure? Support your argument with examples.

2. Harmony is a quality not often depicted in A Passage to India. Professor Godbole seems to embody it. What are the signs by which we can tell that the Professor leads a harmonious life?

Part I, Chapter VIII
1. Trace the theme of identification, or labeling, in this chapter. Give examples, and show the different contexts in which it occurs. How does Miss Quested feel about labeling? Heaslop? In your opinion, is labeling desirable or undesirable?

2. Heaslop uses the term “show Indian.” Our term is “tokenism.” In what ways is the Nawab Bahadur a token Indian? Explain.

Part I, Chapters IX – XI
1. Discuss the following pairs of opposites: wisdom and honesty; intimacy and clarity. Why does Aziz think the first pair are opposites? Why does Fielding believe the second pair are incompatible? Present your own view, with examples.

2. Trace the way in which rumors arise in the societies of Chandrapore, giving examples of similarities and differences between this process and the way rumors are transmitted in our society. Include your conclusions about the origins and effects of rumors.

Part II, Chapters XII – XIV
1. Describe Aziz’s concept of hospitality and his hospitable behavior in this chapter. Forster tells us that hospitality is a capital virtue. He suggests it may also be a vice. Decide whether or not you agree and explain your reasons.

2. Analyze the character of Mrs. Moore as it is revealed in Chapter XIV. Are her reactions consistent with her behavior in previous chapters? If not, show how the change is indicated and explain why it happens....

(The entire section is 1141 words.)

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