Theme Of Imperialism In A Passage To India

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The scene under study, from the film A Passage to India, depicts the Englishwoman Adela Quested exploring the local Indian area surrounding Chandrapore and discovering ruins of a native temple. While no words are uttered during this scene, it is crucial for understanding the full scope of the cultural conflict between the native Indians and the English colonisers. It is also worth noting that parallels and comparisons can be formed between the imperialism found in this film and that which can be seen within Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. More specifically, both of these texts focus on the ideas of British imperialism in particular; a difference being that Heart of Darkness was set prior to World War One, while A Passage to India was set …show more content…
Structures are cracked and worn, vines and foliage have covered the building and then died, and parts of the temple have actually been buried into the ground over time. There is also a statue seen before Quested gets to the temple. This statue is shown when she enters and when again when she leaves. While it is the same statue, the first time it’s shown it is curious and intriguing, while the second time it seems much more sinister. This dilapidation of the temple represents the abandonment and subsequent ignorance of native Indian heritage by the English settlers. This idea can also be seen earlier in the film through the run-down mosque in which Aziz meets Mrs. Moore. This mosque, like the temple, is also on the outskirts of Chandrapore and hasn’t received maintenance for what must be decades. Interestingly enough, this scene wasn’t actually in the original novel but was instead added by the director. This scene serves as a more visual way to display the severity of racism and oppression that the Indians are facing throughout the timespan of the novel and film. This example of imperialism can be compared directly to Heart of Darkness, as within that story, the British are colonising Africa and disregarding the culture of the native African people. However, in HoD this is on a much larger scale in which the colonists are imprisoning the natives and using them for rough slave …show more content…
These monkeys represent the common stereotype that the British had placed on the natives, in which they saw them as nothing more than animals and savage beasts. This idea is directly mirrored later in the film when, before the trial, Quested is being escorted to court. It is here where an Indian dressed as a monkey, seemingly to prove a point, approaches her before he is beaten to death by a guard. Once again, this can be lead back to Heart of Darkness. In the book the native Africans are constantly referred to animals and savages and are not considered to be human by any of the colonists. In fact, when it is finally beginning to dawn on Marlow that these people are being mistreated and are similar to him, he still does not call them human. He instead says: “No, they were not inhuman.”.
In conclusion, this is a very important scene when it comes to discussing the underlying themes of oppression and imperialism in this film. This scene relates to Heart of Darkness, the fog boat scene in particular, for several reasons. Firstly, the protagonists share similarities in their way of thinking and moral ideas. Secondly, the native culture is being oppressed and slowly becoming forgotten and neglected due to British imperialism. Lastly, in both texts, the native citizens are treated as less than human, however more so in Heart of Darkness’

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