Passage to India

Passage to India

  • Submitted By: peaceland
  • Date Submitted: 05/31/2013 11:11 AM
  • Category: English
  • Words: 33670
  • Page: 135
  • Views: 339

1. Introduction 1.1 The Questions to be Discussed The protagonists of E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India (1924) and Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient (1992) question their identities. Frantz Fanon claims that they go through different phases in order to become something (1993:40-41). This inevitable process of becoming is familiar to me, as I, a Sami living in Scandinavia, often find myself standing with one foot in one world and the other in another, not knowing which to choose. It is therefore natural for me to pay attention to the developing, “round”, characters which are subject to change in A Passage to India and The English Patient. I want to find out how the perspective of the native, the “Other”, is represented in these novels. What does being Indian mean to the individual native himself and how has the British presence influenced his mind? These questions are easily recognised in my own Sami context. We often debate what being Sami really means and try to find criteria for what is “the real” or “typical” Sami. The question of identity will thus be the main focus of this thesis, in which I want to find out the following: how are the native protagonists of A Passage to India and The English Patient presented and in which context does the reader meet them? In order to answer these questions the narrative techniques of Forster and Ondaatje will be analysed and compared. Their different ways of characterising their protagonists will also be subjected to discussion. The significance of identity will be in focus throughout this thesis and especially dealt with in a postcolonial context.

1.2 A Brief Introduction to the Authors and their Narratives The English writer E. M. Forster (1879-1970) and the Indian poet and novelist Michael Ondaatje both present colonial matters in a captivating way. They both

choose to focus on India, the jewel of the Crown, and the cross-cultural communication between the coloniser and the colonised in a colonial past. While...

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