Mrs Moore and the Marabar Caves

I think what really strikes me about Passage to India is how mysterious the Marabar Caves are and how they have exerted a sinister yet invisible force over Mrs Moore. Its shocking to me that a jovial character who bore good will to the natives can drastically transform into a detached and disagreeable person after having a sort of negative epiphany. I think that a great deal of this is attributed to the fact that all words including God’s Word is reduced to just an ‘ou-boum’ sound (139). Mrs Moore realizes that words that she valued such as ‘Let there be light’ and ‘it is finished’ (139) meant so little. She suddenly has no concrete universal truth to comfort herself and she is disenchanted; left in a state of uncertainty and flux. We think that she might search for new meaning in life by actively making meaning or deconstructing it, but instead, she seems to react in hopelessness to the situation, as if it dawned upon her that her efforts in extending kindness to the natives count for nothing and as a result, she stops trying. Perhaps this might resonate with absurdism and how Mrs Moore finds no meaning in life and stops striving and instead, she surrenders to the inevitability of things. Thus she becomes hollowed out, an empty shell of a person; one that is apathetic, detached and incapable of affection. Perhaps this suggests that Mrs Moore has been unknowingly poisoned by the Indian landscape i.e. the Marabar Caves and that her disagreeable behavior is a symptom of the Indian disease- she has become one of them. This is further supported with the fact that on her journey back home along the Suez, where “Asia weaken and those of Europe begin to be felt… Mrs. Moore was shaken off” (241). Her body is thus laid at rest in the Indian Ocean so she becomes part of India. She is also fondly remembered by Aziz and is worshipped like the goddess by the natives. This suggests that Mrs Moore has ‘gone native’ and is possibly punished for it.

One thought on “Mrs Moore and the Marabar Caves

  1. Very thoughtful Caroline. This line of thought could go in a lot of different directions…