Adela Quested's name may not have significance, but it suggests the "Questioner." This is the role, at any rate, that Forster assigns to her.
She is presented as a plain young woman whose best qualities are her innate honesty and a kind of courageous decency. Her approach to life is completely intellectual. She is sensible, but not sensitive. She serves as an antithesis to Mrs. Moore, who is ruled by emotional intuition. This difference in personality affects their understanding of each other, and of others.
Adela's passionless disposition makes her unfit for marriage and her frank objectivity helps her to realize it. It is this guileless attitude that wins Fielding's grudging admiration.
Her response to India is one of reason, but since India, with its highly complex problems, cannot be approached through the intellect alone, Adela can never comprehend it. However, she is appalled at the smug and snobbish ways of the British in India.
The reader may find himself sympathetic with Adela and at the same time smile agreement with Aziz at his unkind, but comic, remarks about her; her cold honesty is admirable but not endearing.
Her lack of sensitivity is pointed up when Fielding has to suggest that perhaps she should apologize to Aziz. She is willing to make amends, but she does not have the compassion to do it without being told. Her remorse is of the head, not the heart; her primary feeling is one of guilt for having been the cause of so much trouble to everyone.