A Passage to India

Echo the Silence: Mrs. Moore's Spiritual Muddle in Forster's A Passage to India

"Oh why is everything still my duty? When shall I be free from your fuss?" mutters Mrs. Moore as she collapses into the raving madness of spiritual despair (228). After serving as E.M. Forster's most sympathetic character through nearly all of A Passage to India, she is suddenly immobilized after her experience in the Marabar Caves; her perspective, thoughts, and even language degenerate into withered cynicism and virtually incoherent ramblings. Indeed, the last of these seemingly irrational monologues convinces Ronny that his mother has fallen off completely; he sends her back to England believing that India has warped her sense of reality. In looking more carefully at one of these thought-driven monologues, however, we find that Mrs. Moore has experienced a realization that has completely annihilated her set of distinctly "English"values. By analyzing the structure of these thoughts, the new ideology driving them, and the possibility of their resolution, we discover that Mrs. Moore's revelations and subsequent transformation stem from a startling anti-vision. The Caves' undifferentiated echoes have convinced Mrs. Moore that her value scheme is prosaic and worthless, and her final collapse is...

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