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A Study of a Passage to India from the Perspective of Cultural Traveling Theory

Author YangShengMing
Tutor LiuJianJun
School Northeast Normal University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords A Passage to India cultural traveling traveling theme subject consciousness intersubjectivity incomplete theory
Type PhD thesis
Year 2011
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Many novels of E.M Forster are themed by journeys, among which A Passage to India is written according to his experience of two trips to India. Characters in the novel came to India for a tourist journey and the author of the novel also experienced India through traveling. Actually, whether the characters or the author of the novel, they apparently took a space journey, but essentially took a spiritual journey, a soul‘s journey. Obviously, A Passage to India was the perfect example of reflecting the traveling theme in the modern literature.Firstly, this dissertation takes an analysis of the sources of the works reflecting the traveling theme and gives the definition of the related concepts. In the first place, this paper classifies the two groups of concepts:―tour‖and―travel‖, tourist texts and traveling texts. Traveling in the modern sense is not only provides satisfies human nature of seeking freedom in a higher level, but also provides an important means of intercultural communication by which the travelers rethink their own culture by comparison after much exposure to alien cultures. However, the traveling theme in literature is not so simple. It is closely related with western culture, especially with the literary tradition of the Bible. Traveling is a journey on which people endure physically and spiritually for their survival and development. The main ideas that the traveling theme reflects are the experience on the road of searching for the physical home and spiritual garden. In fact, this is the ultimate problem that has constantly puzzled western generations in their thoughts about the time. But this single theme gradually yields important cultural significance in the development process of modern western culture, which has close relations with the expansion of European colonialism and the arousal of modern sex consciousness. Presentations of the traveling theme gradually show some common features in the evolutionary process of modern western literature: in subject contents, the primary ideas that the traveling texts display are to demonstrate people‘s various attempts and efforts for survival as well as the happiness and distress that people feel in this process; in artistic techniques, the various traveling texts of modern literature often diversify and ridicule the concept of travel in the Bible; moreover, the traveling theme is inevitable to involve the critical introspection and shows two kinds of tendencies of the subject: that of the tourists and vagrants. Traveling is the life style, living style, learning style and experiencing style of the modern people. Now that individuals are incomplete no matter at an individual level, a class level or an industry level and they all need others.The second chapter analyzes concretely the multi-subject consciousness of the texts of A passage to India. This paper divides Mrs. Moore, Ms. Quested, Fielding and Forster into different traveling figures and analyzes their different cultural backgrounds and different social value preferences and tries to construct diversified models of subjects. As a modern tourist, the main features of Ms. Quested are to avoid the settled identity, to follow her own consciousness of dialogue exchanges and to seek sublimation of autognosis. But as a modern vagrant, in the view of liberal humanism, Forster tries to cast off the paradox and set out of the mire of the existent culture and to view this spiritual vagabondage and thinking process as the embodiment of liberty liberal humanism.The third chapter takes an analysis of the cultural and religious conflicts in different intersubjectivity. In the view of humanism, Forster analyzes the problems of different cultures themselves and finally attributes them to the theme of connection. After the cave crisis, Aziz, Ms. Quested and Fielding, etc, all have experienced a growth ceremony and come out with a deep reflection and recognition. The tripartite structures of the novel—connection- division-reconnection follow an upward spiral development, which is Forster‘s recognization in depth of the order of human nature and the relations of the humankind.The forth chapter analyzes traveling and the construction of self-completion. First, self-completion is a dynamic concept, and therefore we must see it from a dynamic point of view. Second, self-completion can be realized through establishing friendship. Third, self-completion can also be realized by getting rid of centralization. Forth, in order to realize self-completion, man also needs to surpass man‘s limitation.In a word, the thesis analyzes Forster‘s novel A Passage to India from the perspective of cultural traveling theory. Traveling literature has its source and theory. And A Passage to India also demonstrates a multiplied consciousness of subject and communication through dialogue. Forster also analyzes different problems arising from different cultural identities in their communication. The solution to the problem of human relationship is closely related to self-completion, for man can communicate and understand each other on an equal basis only when self-completion is realized.

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