Chapter XXVIII from E M Forster’s A Passage to India (Part 2 Caves): Summary and Analysis
Ronny was feeling a burden upon his conscience for the way the natives were making stories about his mother’s death. People were making stories about her remains being found and strange creatures creeping up from Ganges. He could not forget his ego and therefore the only formality he could do was to erect a stone in his mother’s name. That was all about his mother and poor Adela and the relationship too did not have a future. Forster explores the character of Ronny in somewhat more depth in this chapter and his ego. The guy was bred to think in a manner that did not suit anyone else but the British empire. The public school brand knew no other religion.
Mrs Moore was dead now and her body had been lowered into the Indian ocean while she was on her way to Europe. In those times ships to Europe had to go around Arabia on their route from Bombay. A ghost was said to have followed the ship till the Red Sea. However, it could not enter the mediterranean from where the boundaries of the West began. At Port Said (city in Egypt along the cost of the Mediterranean sea) the weather was cold. However, it had kept growing hotter steadily in India. In Chandrapore, people are talking about Mrs Moore’s death. They were saying that Ronny had killed his mother when she was trying to save an Indian. Other types of rumours also cropped up. A crocodile and grown the tusks of a boar and crawled out of the Ganges or some cow was killed. All these things somehow were related to the death of another noble soul – Mrs Moore. This was enough to annoy the authorities. This type of nonsense becomes more difficult to fight than the ordinary solid lies. Somebody even discovered two tombs having the remains of Mrs Moore. One was found near the tannery and the other close to the goods station. Mr McBryde visited these places to see the nonsense. However, he did not react to anything given that could only raise the fire. The rumours died soon and he said it was nothing but native propaganda. However, he missed that years ago when Europeans first settled along the country side they became demons or part Gods and then becoming a part of the local folk lore.
Ronny’s conscience was not clear as he had behaved poorly with his mother before she left India. Despite trying his best he could not think of repentance and the other course was to stick to his ego which he did. Her patronage of Aziz, her influence on Adela and her mixing with the natives still bothered him. This was not all because she had left him worried by many other things too she did in her lifetime. He had already too many things to worry from the local heat and tensions to the pending visit of the Lieutenant governor. Adela had already given birth to more troubles and after that the way they were Indianizing his mother. Ronny was not interested in religion. He kept clear of these things and his only religion was the Public School Brand. This was the outlook, he carried too every place of worship with him whether he was in a Mosque, cave or temple. For now he dismissed these matters and decided that a tablet was to be put up in the Northamptonshire church with the date of her birthday death and recording her burial at the sea. He was feeling for poor Adela but could not afford to marry her because that would ruin his career. She was still at the college with Fielding. It was definitely humiliating for Ronny but no-one wanted her at the civil station. Aziz was suing her and Ronny could not talk to her till the award money was final. Anyhow she belonged to a period of time when he was less mature. The love was never very strong and the relationship had grown as useless as Adela herself.