A Passage To India: Part 2 Chapter 16 - Summary & Analysis

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     Aziz stayed a while in the cave. He then lit a cigarette and came out only to find Miss Adela Quested missing. Miss Derek had come in her car. Aziz wanted to give this information to Adela. He asked the guide where Miss Adela Quested was. The guide replied that she had gone to one of the caves. He shouted for Adela but no answer came. As a matter of fact no sound ever penetrated the Marabar Caves, except its echo. Aziz called the guide closer to himself and gave him a blow on the face. The guide ran away in confusion. Aziz ran down to have a glimpse of the cave below. He saw Adela talking to Miss Derek. He thought she must have run down to have a drive in the car. He did not regard this as unnatural. But while heading towards the camp he found Adela’s field glasses lying on the way and the strap broken. He put in his pocket and felt a bit worried. On reaching the camp he found Fielding and was glad to meet him.

      Fielding told Aziz that he was picked up on the way by Miss Derek. Presently, she was waiting down below with her driver. Mrs. Moore and Fielding asked Aziz where Miss Adela Quested was. Aziz told them that she was all right and was talking to Miss Derek down below. Just then Derek's driver came to inform them that both the ladies had left for Chandrapore. Even then Aziz felt nothing strange about it but Fielding smelt something queer in it. Mrs. Moore accused Miss Derek of haste in taking away Miss Adela Quested. Fielding told her that Derek was in no hurry to depart but Miss Adela Quested might have been. Mrs. Moore retorted that Miss Adela Quested had never been in a hurry all her life.

      After breakfast Fielding went into one of the caves, found it uninteresting and came out. Then they mounted the elephant and followed the same path by which they had come. Fielding asked Aziz where he had left Miss Adela Quested. Aziz pointed towards 'Kawa Doi' but Fielding could see no path leading to that spot. Aziz told a lie that there were several paths to the top. He informed Fielding that the guide had accompanied Miss Adela Quested down to the car and had then come to inform him of her safe arrival. Fielding was not happy at Adela's impertinence and Derek's abetment. He asked Aziz how much money he had spent in the expedition. Aziz replied that he had spent a good deal but that he did not mind it. He had no care for money. Fielding disagreed with him and said that the foundation of the British empire was laid on thrift, prudence and forethought.

      The picnic was over and the party left for Chandrapore. When the train reached Chandrapore they were surprised to find the police inspector was waiting for them. Haq declared that it was his painful duty to arrest Dr. Aziz under instructions from McBryde for an unknown charge. Aziz collapsed. Fielding told Haq that there had been some error and he would accompany Aziz to the police station to clarify it. Aziz tried to escape. Fielding stopped him and told him to have courage. Mr. Turton prevented Fielding from going with Aziz who was taken alone in the police van to the prison. Ronny escorted his mother Mrs. Moore to her bungalow.

Critical Analysis

      In this chapter the story reaches a climax and keeps us in a state of suspense as to what is going to happen next. Aziz was arrested on a charge of attempted rape. The charge made by Miss Adela Quested, however, was not stated, yet Fielding turned out to be a man of insight. He had a remarkable presence of mind. The author has been successful in delineating his character and keeping an element of surprise in his story.

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