Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The man and the woman at the beginning of the book are close to each other in the countryside of India, but they don't know it.

They are both in a multidimensional state of not knowing because they each live in a different part of India than where they are now. They don't know what's up because they aren't at all used to there current place. They don't even know how to notice it.

She is young and is going, accompanied by a servant who hates her, to marry an old guy, a prince, she doesn't want to marry. She pitched many fits to avoid marrying him, but to no avail. Her last ploy is a delaying tactic--to not take the train to the prince's place some old-fashioned way that's as slow as walking. ( Elephant? She gets carried? I can't remember--gotta look at the book.) This makes the jouney take weeks instead of days and makes her and her servant equally clueless about their immediate surroundings.)

His name is Forester and he is a forester for the British government in India. He is also named (by the author, not inside the book) after E.M. Forster who visited India, was liberal about India, wrote a famous book about India, "Passage to India." The forester in the book is also liberal and symphathetic with Indian aspirations to have their own country and not be mistreated and demeaned on an hourly basis.

The book briefly implies this question--"What good does a well-meaning, clueless person do in the face of a vast unfair system if they are themselves part of the demeaning part of the system?"

The book quickly implies the answer--"No good at all. So Forster the real guy and Forester the made of guy were good guys. So what? So nothing."

If Forester and the prince's financee were from around where they are situated at the start of the book, they would have often heard people talk about how you had to stay out of dry riverbeds which were sometimes so dry they didn't even look like dry riverbeds because water might melt in the mountains up above and come down the riverbed fast with no warning.

They hadn't heard that one, and that's what happened. Flash flood. Servant dead. English guy knocked out and washed into a cave. Indian women finds the guy and the cave. She isn't injured.

**Last fling before marriage is a routine theme in old stories about and by guys--not common about women. She's off to marry someone she doesn't like; this guy is not old. not connected to anyone she knows, and present. Also compliant because unconscious.

When he comes to, she's making love to him. How feels this repressed English guy who is named after a repressed and gay English guy about this experience? We don't know.

It is worth noting that these folks had sex in a cave. The idea of sex in a cave is big in "A Passage to India." (Next paragraph gives away plot of same.)

The idea, not the actuality. A not brilliant Englishwomen visiting goes to this famous mysterious cave with other people including a Indian guy she's been friendly with in a liberal way. Something happens that confuses and upsets and she thinks the guy sexually assaulted her until the trial when she takes it all back. Forester in his writing makes this all kind of woo-woo and mysterious like the cave is supposed to be so one is pushed to not feel that this woman is a stupid maybe insane irresponsible creep. Rather it's all supposed to say something about the impossibility of communication between Brits and Indians. It might say something about Forester's attitude toward his own gayness and an old fashioned gay guy's attitude toward women who he was super-pressured to marry. Negative and snarky, was the old attitude.
The Indian woman and the Brit in this cave are not ambiguous in that they really for sure have sex. (Note that he isn't totally there for it and isn't responsible which, who knows, might have been Forester's dream of gay sex.)

The guy dies pretty soon. The woman is pregant, and the author has what he wants--a man, the child, who is half-English and doesn't know it.