Humour & Satire: in A Passage To India

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      E.M. Forster's satire and humor are different from that of Dickens and Fielding. Unlike Dickens and Fielding, he is not preoccupied with social reform. His humor has a certain charm and though it does at times turn satirical, there no danger of it turning pungent or bitter. There is a genial touch of the great artist in it which never leaves a sting behind. F.R. Leavis has very aptly said this about Forster: " in his comedy one might carelessly say, he shows himself the born novelist."

Humour and Satire

      The portrayal of Prof. Godbole in A Passage to India is an excellent example of Forster's gift of humor. The description of the agony and discomfiture of the Collector of Chandrapore on coming to know of the incident at the caves is in a satirical vein which has a touch of Forster's genial disposition. This is how Forster presents the whole scene "The Collector could not speak at first. His face was white, fanatical, and rather beautiful—the expression that all English faces were to wear at Chandrapore for many days. Always brave and unselfish, he was now fused by some white and generous heart; he would have killed himself, obviously, if he had thought it right to do so." He spoke at last. "The worst thing in my whole career has happened he said: "Miss Quested has been Insulted in one of the Marabar Caves".

      We can assure that Forster's satire will never get bitter. His satire has the genial touch of the great artist. The Collector Mr. Turton's outburst will bear this out "New-comers set our traditions aside, and in an instant what you see happens; the work of years is undone and the good name of my district ruined for a generation. I ..... I can't see the end of this day's work, Mr. Fielding. You who are imbued with modern ideas-no doubt you can. I wish I had never lived to see its beginning, I know that. It is the end for me, that a lady, that a young lady engaged to my most valued subordinate — that she —an English girl fresh from England—that I should have lived..."

      Thus, we see, that Forster has made good use of humor and satire in his novels. Even in his novel, A Passage to India we can see Forster's satire working upon whole range of subjects. He has satirized the ruling British class in India and even the Hindus and the Muslims. Even some of his characters like Prof. Godbole have been conceived in a humorous mold.

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