A Passage to India

The Significance of Religion in 'A Passage to India' 12th Grade

E.M Forster’s ‘A Passage to India’ is a literary work which operates on two levels simultaneously- personal and impersonal. Scenes involving the innermost thoughts and feelings of the characters alternate with scenes vocalizing the voice of the omniscient narrator, who directly addresses some of the heavier issues which lie at the heart of the novel. The theme of religion operates in the same way. On a larger plane, it enables Forster to deliver social commentary by supporting the themes of colonialism and ethnic relations. His portrayal of the tensions which exist within the different segments of Indian society foreshadows historical events which occurred years after the novel was published. However, each of the three major religions is also portrayed as a philosophy through which man makes sense of himself and the universe around him. The presentation of its effects on individual characters enable Forster to explore philosophical concepts such as infinity and head vs. heart. The reactions and personal values of the adherents of each religion, in turn, reinforce the other themes of the novel, connecting everything to Forster’s grand vision.

On a socio-historical level, religion is portrayed as a divisive force. The sections ‘...

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