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Word Count: 679
The first chapter of A Passage to India describes the setting of the novel Forster establishes Chandrapore as a prototypical Indian town neither distinguished nor exceptionally troubled This town can therefore be taken to be symbolic of the rest of India rather than an exceptional case This allows the actions that occur in the following chapters to be representative of the Anglo-Indian colonial relations that will dominate the events of the novel By beginning the novel with a mention of the Marabar Caves Forster foreshadows later events that will occur concerning the Marabar Caves and that will provide the narrative turning point of A Passage to India It is significant that Forster does not begin the novel with the description of any particular character This places the story in context of the town of Chandrapore in particular and the nation of India in general In this chapter Forster establishes several of the major themes that will predominate A Passage to India Most important among these is the vast difference between the English colonial elite and the native population of India Forster makes it clear that the British elite treat the Indians with
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