Critical Essays Forster's Writing Technique


Forster's narrative style is straightforward; events follow one another in logical order. Structurally, his sentence style also is relatively uncomplicated, and he reproduces accurately the tones of human conversation; his handling of the idiom of the English-speaking Indian is especially remarkable.

However, Forster's rhetorical style is far from unsubtle. His descriptions of the landscape, however unattractive it may be, frequently have a poetic rhythm. He makes lavish use of both satire and irony, and the satire is especially biting in his treatment of the English colonials, particularly in the events before the trial in the "Caves" section. But he is also capable of gentle humor, notably in his depiction of the high-spirited and volatile Aziz.

As has been noted earlier, there are numerous themes and symbols — such as the wasp, the echo, the "Come come" of Godbole's song — which recur throughout the novel; these are not introduced in an obvious fashion, and it is not until the end of the book that their full significance is apparent.

Some of the statements in the book are in the form of questions to which answers are obvious; but for many of them no answers are suggested or even implied — an indication of the philosophical nature of the novel. Forster is not the man with all the answers, and perhaps he is implying that he himself is not certain whether life is (in the terms he frequently uses) "mystery or muddle" — or both.