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Discuss the symbolic significance of the Marabar Caves in A Passage to India

Discuss the symbolic significance of the Marabar Caves in A Passage to India
Discuss the symbolic significance of the Marabar Caves in A Passage to India

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Discuss the symbolic significance of the Marabar Caves
in A Passage to India.

Discuss the significance of the events in the Marabar
Caves inA Passage to India.

Ans. The symbolic significance of the ‘Marabar Caves’ in ‘A
Passage to India’ of E.M. Forster is very complex. In fact, the central
point of the novel is the nightmarish experience of two English
women, Mrs. Moore and Adela Quested in these Caves. Mrs. Moore is
destroyed both spiritually and physically; Adela is driven to the brink
of madness. Aziz is ruined and the passage to India which the two
women have undertaken seems to have failed.
The ‘Marabar Caves’ are a mystery and so is India. They are
extraordinary but why they are so is left unexplained. We are told
that the Marabar Caves were pre-historic. They pre-dated Islam,
Christianity and even Hinduism, which are the oldest religions in the
world. They stand for chaos, darkness, and evils. The westerners were
brought face to face with the reality of evil that forms a part of the
universe.
The horrible experiences of Mrs. Moore and Adela Quested posed
a challenge to the comfortable Christianity of the former and the
rationalistic liberal claims of the other. Mrs. Moore, shocked in the
very first cave, was a mystic who had wished to communicate with
God looking on this communion as something beautiful. The dark
and empty caves revealed the hollowness of life where nothing
mattered. The vacuum and littleness of the caves produced an echo
that was frightening.
In a moment, Mrs. Moore finds herself becoming completely
uninterested in everyone around her, including her children. Even
the Christian God, on whose love and understanding she had based
her entire existence, becomes completely meaningless.
The same echo which destroyed Mrs. Moore physically destroys
Adela Quested psychologically in the next scene when she visits the
caves with Dr. Aziz. The darkness of the eave destroys her balance of
mind so much that she even gets a hallucination that someone is
trying to rape her. She goes mad with horror and, in sheer shock and
exhaustion she rushes down the caves goes to the nearest police
starts the machinery that will send Aziz to jail and shatter the peace
of Chandrapore.
Thus the incident at “Marabar Caves’ is merely an echo, a kind of
monotonous meaningless “bou-oum” sound. But by hearing this echo
in the caves, two British women unwilling and against their best
have released Evil which spreads everywhere.

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