By John Beer (eds.)
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Additional info for A Passage to India: Essays in Interpretation
The plot', writes Forster in Aspects of the Novel, 'is the novel in its logical intellectual aspect: it requires mystery, but the mysteries are solved later on ... ' (v, 67). But there are mysteries in this novel that cannot be solved, that have nothing to do with 'plot' in any usual sense, and that certainly cannot be acted out on a stage. When we ask what happened in the caves, we must ask about these other mysteries, for they are the mysteries that give this novel its essential meaning- even though we may quarrel about what, exactly, that meaning is.
As plot-maker, the novelist is master-of-ceremonies, 'competent, poised above his work, throwing a beam of light here, popping on a cap of invisibility there'- but with the mysteries of prophecy the author is not the omnipotent or omniscient master-of-ceremonies but as much in the dark as anyone. (One can even argue that Forster did not understand the meaning of the caves, or of this novel as a whole, until years after he had written it. 2) The mysteries of prophecy exist not to be 'solved', but to be wondered at, like religious mysteries - the mystery of the mass or of a medieval 'mystery' play.
It is a mystery that is not unravelled until Adela dramatically confesses, in the middle of the trial, that 'nothing' happened in the caves, that Aziz was not even in the same cave. These are the events that Santha Rama Rau concentrated on when she made a stage play out of A Passage to India; they are the kind of events that can be witnessed and acted out before our eyes, they are the kind of mysteries that can be solved. 'The plot', writes Forster in Aspects of the Novel, 'is the novel in its logical intellectual aspect: it requires mystery, but the mysteries are solved later on ...
A Passage to India: Essays in Interpretation by John Beer (eds.)