In his novel A Passage to India, Forster uses a series of repeated misunderstandings between cultures, which become hardened into social stereotypes, to justify the uselessness of attempts to bridge cultural gulfs. In many instances, the way in which language is used plays a great role in the miscommunication between the English and the Indians, as well as among people of the same culture. This is exemplified in the way in which people use the same words, but do not hear the same meaning. It is also displayed through the British characters Aziz meets and befriends, through a series of invitations and through time and true mistakes. .
Upon Meeting the British: .
Two significant instances of miscommunication occur when Aziz meets the British characters in the novel that will end up being very close, yet controversial friends. Upon his encountering Mrs. Moore at the Mosque, he sees a British woman and right away develops a series of misconceptions about her. He believes that she is like all other British women (bring up conversation on women being alike): .
"Madam, this is a mosque, you have no right here at all; you should have taken off your shoes; this is a holy place for Moslems." .
"I have taken them off." .
"You have?" .
"I left them at the entrance." .
"Then I ask your pardon. I am truly sorry for speaking." .
"Yes, I was right, was I not? If I remove my shoes, I am allowed?" .
"Of course, but so few ladies take the trouble, especially if thinking no one is there to see" (18). .
What Aziz finds is the unexpected fact that she is like Aziz in many ways, or as he describes her, "Oriental" (21). .
Yet, when seeing this side of the British woman, he again breaks his connection with her when she speaks of her son: .
"And why ever do you come to Chandrapore?" .
"To visit my son. He is the City Magistrate here." .
"Oh no, excuse me, that is quite impossible. Our City Magistrate's name is Mr. Heaslop. I know him intimately.