Versions of Truth in Passage to India

If we can suggest a thing such as “the Truth”, then in the eyes of the reader, the “Truth” is that Mrs. Moore did nothing to bail Aziz out of his plight; instead it was Adela who woke up from her stupor and rescued Aziz from a lifetime of reprehension. Yet the fact Aziz never forgives Adela and instead looks to the deceased Mrs. Moore as a figure of recuperation, fondness and “love” only complicates our understanding of what “Truth” really is. While we may be (reductively) inclined to say that Aziz is deluded, I think it is actually more complex than that because his version of the “truth” is not any less valid than our sympathetic reading of it either. After all, his is also the result of how he has chosen to comprehend the turn of events. 

 Using Adela’s words “we must all die; all these personal relations we try to live by are temporary. I used to feel death selected people, it is a notion one gets from novels, […] Now ‘death spares no one’ begins to be real” (249), I would like to posit that Aziz is therefore “writing” his own life story by immortalizing Mrs. Moore – because that is the only way he can construct his version of reality and come to terms with the illogical horrors that happened to him. 

Death had selected Mrs. Moore rather randomly, yet Aziz makes a martyr out of Mrs. Moore exactly because she died. To me, I think this is because putting Mrs Moore on the pedestle is a much easier task than forgiving the living Adela for Aziz. Upon death, Mrs. Moore can no longer speak, so Aziz is free to do whatever he wants to her memory. Without contradictions, Aziz is then able to construct a coherent narrative (like that of a “novel” in Adela’s words) that helps him cope with the unexpected and bizarre accusation that he was faced with out of nowhere. In a way, I could not help but wonder if Mrs. Moore had lived and continued to display her apathy towards all that happened (including Aziz), would he still have elevated her to such a status?

 And I think the implication of this is therefore the impulse that is inherent within Modernism itself too– that, in the end it’s not about what reality is (if we can even access it in the first place) but the stories and versions of truth that we tell that is more important to giving our existence meaning and coherence. This is however not to say that our versions of truths are blatant lies in any way; rather it is the way we have chosen to look at life; and it is need not always exist in line with what really happened from a neutral third party’s point of view (a la the reader in this story). 

Modernism: Truths and Realities

Personally, I think people tend to enjoy residing in their comfort zone, allowing many things around them to go unquestioned. Hence, allowing those with power to take on a paternal-like role in deciding how life is to be led as they represented objectivity and the truth. This is where, I believe, the role and purpose of Modernism – as a movement, serves. That is, to challenge and, if I may put it, to ‘mess around’ with the ‘normal’ perception of how things are and should be.

To put it simply, I think Modernism definitely comes across as confusing and unfathomable to some, with its seemingly incongruous form – forms that illustrates that our thought process is actually illogical and inconsistent in reality whilst our consciousness – arbitrary. This, as Auerbach has discussed, demonstrates how individuals would assign meanings to their surrounding based on their experiences. In other words, a hundred individuals will likely assign a hundred different meanings to a single entity. I feel that this recognition is a salient trait that drives the movement of Modernism, making it distinctive. Paradoxically, the driving force of Modernism is also its bane, as it faces the irreconcilable issue of representing truth and reality. Given that we are all unique in our experiences and thinking, what then is reality and truth?