Comparative Survey, Descriptive Research

  Comparative survey research is a type of descriptive survey where it aims to compare the status of two or more variable, institutions, strategies etc. This technique often uses multiple disciplines in one study.This does not only compare different groups but also same group over time.Few points are to be kept in mind before starting the comparative survey. ·        Comparison Points -The research should be very clear regarding the points to be compared. This can also be identified through review of literature and experience of experts. ·        Assumption of Similarities -  One has to be clear about the similarities the two variable hold. If the researcher do not find this there is no point of comparison. Criteria of Comparison - The researcher has to identify the criteria of comparison keeping in mind the fairness and objectivity. Appropriate tools has to be identified for measurement of criterion variables. Comparative survey research is carried on when the researcher cannot

Plot Structure of Forster’s ‘A Passage to India’

Theme         Aziz- Fielding relationship                   Critical analysis

A Passage to India (1924) is considered as E.M.Forster’s major work. Forster, major English author of the twentieth century is a writer of great technical and intellectual significance whose work deserves close study and analysis. Some of his major works are The Longest Journey, A Room with a View and Howards End.

The present novel can be read as a valuable critique of British rule in India, a profound statement about personal relationships and a comment upon political, ethical and metaphysical issues. The plot structure of A Passage to India seems to reflect the major themes that obsessed Forster when he wrote the novel. The book is divided into three sections- MOSQUE, CAVES and TEMPLE. The title themselves suggest meaning which is to be found behind story, people and even setting.

At the surface level the novel relates the story of two British ladies- Mrs. Moore and Miss Adela Quested who want to see ‘the real India’. The bridge party at Collector Turton’s house is not a success. This shows that there can be bridge or communication between the British and Indians.

In the first section of the novel Aziz and Mrs.Moore meet in the cool season. Aziz is mercurial and temperamental whereas Mrs.Moore is kind and gentle. Both are sensitive human beings who value affection and kindness highly and place instinct above reason, kindness above convention. They try to form a lasting friendship where secret understanding of the heart is predominant. An English woman and an Indian man enter into a personal understanding that led through the novel. Aziz’s initial suspicion is dissolved by the respect Mrs.Moore shows to the religious atmosphere in the mosque and her acceptance to the presence of God in the mosque. A positive affirmation of the relationship arises when Mrs.Moore says,

I don’t think I understand people very well. I only know whether I like or dislike them.

To this Aziz replies, then you are an Oriental.

The central episode of A Passage to India, which is the experience of the two Englishwomen- Mrs.Moore and Adela Quested in the Marabar Caves is symbolically and realistically the heart of the novel. The characters who are in understanding in the first section are drawn into the caves which represent the collapse of human relationship in the face of chaos. The Caves symbolising hot weather defeat the forces of reconciliation. 

Mrs.Moore and Adela troubled by the monotony of their lives accompanies Aziz to Marabar Caves. By the time they reach the caves they are on the verge of apathy in which nothing is real. Adela is driven into near madness as she looks into the horrifying darkness of the caves. She undergoes a hallucination and accuses Aziz of molesting her after she hears the fearful echo. Mrs. Moore had to undergo greater horror. The smallness and emptiness of the cave produce an echo which is more frightening to her. Before her experience in the cave, she had been a religious mystic who believed in God and that his love extends towards all creatures. But now, to her, this Unity also means total negation in which good and evil are identical. Mrs Moore reflects,
Pathos, piety, courage- they exist, but are identical, and so is filth. Everything exists, nothing has value.   

The cave thus, symbolise the complete triumph of forces of hostility, evil and negation. Fielding and Aziz develop a mutual trust and genuine friendship. But the hostility of the caves, the imprisonment of Aziz, his subsequent release and its celebration however, put impediments on their relationship.

A reconciliation comes about during the time of Janmashtami. Forster symbolically presents Hinduism in its exclusive aspects. He recognises that India is a divine country which brings spiritual joy to the participants. He also reflects on Hindu mysticism. In the ‘Temple’, the birth of Sri Krishna is being celebrated in the town of Mau at the time of the monsoons. The section opens with Godbole presiding over a festival in which, amid all the noise and confusion of celebration, God is born symbolically, and love celebrated. God, the Universal Lover, the Unknown Friend, is at last a presence. The Hindu worshippers trying to emulate this infinite love of Lord Krishna tries to love others equally.

They love all men, the whole universe, and scraps of their past, tiny past splinters of detail, emerged for a moment to melt into the universal warmth.                     

We learn that Aziz has come to Mau to escape from English. Fielding along with Mrs.Moore’s children also reaches Mau. The festival brings together these former friends into temporary reconciliation, if not a permanent union. Still the festival builds up to a reassertion of the possibility of personal relations, an affirmative answer to the negating echo of the Marabar.

To carry a theme of such weighty complexity, Forster employs a careful plot structure and an intricate texture, both of which are proof of Forster’s unique experimentation in the novel form. To give overall unity he uses irony, symbolism, pattern and rhythm. The structure thus, denotes three crucial encounters. In the first an Englishwoman and an Indian man meet in the peace of the mosque and form a lasting friendship. In the second the bond of friendship established are shattered by the negation of the caves. In the third, all the separations and divisions are dissolved in a large unity, a synthesis. This pattern of thesis, antithesis and synthesis gives what may be called an architectural unity to the book. 

E.K.Brown in his study of the Forster rightly says,
One of the reasons for the novel’s greatness is its rhythmic form that makes us pass beyond the character, story and setting and attend to the larger meaning, the poetic and prophetic meaning of the novel.


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