Current book: A Passage to India
Pages read: 61 - 162
Apparently I read this a lot faster today than I did on Thursday. I have no clever explanation for that.
Well, since Mrs. Moore and Aziz were so friendly before, a mutual acquaintance, Mr. Fielding, invites them both to tea. Mr. Fielding is a local British teacher whom Aziz has known for some time, and Mrs. Moore since she arrived. Anyway, they meet and Aziz inadvertently invites Mrs. Moore and Ms. Quested to tour the Marabar Caves, a local attraction, with him. It seems that he means the invitation as a courtesy, but the two women take it at face value. Aziz is left in the position of being forced to arrange the excursion even though he does not want to, but at least Mr. Fielding agrees to go along.
In the meantime, Ms. Quested tells Ronny that she does not want to marry him, but after a harrowing drive together in which their lives are threatened by an unrelated accident, she changes her mind and they become engaged. She is, however, aware of and depressed by the fact that she does not actually love him.
When the trip to the caves finally rolls around, Mr. Fielding is late for the train, and so Aziz and the two ladies end up going alone. Mrs. Moore sees one cave and declares herself exhausted, so it is Aziz and Adela alone who complete the trip. At the top of the escarpment where the caves are located, Aziz loses track of Adela. After a short time, he sees her far below him meeting a British friend who has come along in a car, and ceases to worry about her. By the time Aziz gets back down to where Mrs. Moore is, Mr. Fielding has arrived (ostensibly in that same British car) to save the day. Everyone's pleased, though Adela is still absent, and they're all sitting around having refreshments when the local police come tearing up and arrest Aziz for having put Ms. Quested in great danger. We don't have any explanation of what happened; he just gets hauled off to jail and it's the end of the chapter.
The commentary on the inappropriateness of the Raj's rule of India continues, obviously. It's clear that the British are so politically flawed themselves that they have no right to try to "improve the Indian people," as they are so desperate to do, and, in addition to that, consider themselves socially superior, regardless of the fact that they are often ill-mannered, unforgiving, and even hostile. It seems like we're about to get an example of their capacity to be heinously unfair, also.
There was a cunning little piece of commentary on whiteness where Forster said that being white had as much to do with color as "God save the Queen" has to do with God. So true, Forster. So true.
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