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MonkeyNotes-A Passage to India by E. M. Forster
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Chapter 24

The day of the trial comes, and the weather is an appropriate reflection of the tension in Chandrapore. The heat is so intense that even the electric fans give no relief. The air is filled with clouds of dust, causing the sky to look gray and the earth to appear a sickly yellow.

Adela, after many years, prays to God; she asks for his help in granting a favorable verdict. It is clear that the other British people, "helping" her, have no regard for her as a person; she is merely a "violated" Englishwoman who must be avenged. They all gather in Ronny's offices and whip themselves into anger in preparation for the trial. They are sure that they will win the case even though an Indian is presiding over the trial. It is clear from their interactions that everyone blames someone else for their personal unhappiness.

Before the trial begins, the horrible echo returns to Adela, and she thinks she will faint in the courtroom. As she enters for the trial, she is calmed at seeing the crowd of supporters. She also notices the Punkha puller who is indifferent to all the commotion around him. He does not understand what is happening and is not bothered in the least. Something about him, probably his divine physique, impresses Adela so much that she immediately realizes how futile it is to accuse others for her suffering.

The trial begins with a shuffling of chairs and positions; the proper British want to make certain they are in their correct places. This commotion, however, properly foreshadows the lack of clarity of the trial. Testimony begins with McBryde, the surgeon; he makes inflammatory remarks concerning Aziz and Indian men in general, as if they were facts. Aziz is then accused of deliberately planning the attack. In discussing the caves, no one can decide if historically they are Jain or Buddhist; they are not even sure in which cave the supposed "attack" took place.


For the defense, Mahmoud Ali accuses the British of smuggling Mrs. Moore out of the country because she could give evidence to support Aziz. The courtroom goes wild, with the Indians calling her names. Mahmoud Ali calls British justice a farce. The British are sure that his show of emotion is ploy. Adela feels unaffected by his words and states that she is feeling strong. When she gets up to give evidence, she appears calm and carefully answers all questions. When she is directly asked if Aziz followed her into the cave, she relives the scene in her mind. After sometime, Adela calmly states that Aziz never followed her into the cave. The courtroom goes into an uproar. The English try to stop the proceedings on medical grounds, but McBryde is forced by Das to withdraw the case.

Aziz is to be immediately released. He faints at the verdict. It is the first time he has been seen or mentioned in the book in several chapters. As a result, the doctor's reaction to his freedom is made to seem even stronger. In celebration, there are joyous scenes amongst the Indians in the court; they cheer loudly, smile, hug, and cry tears of joy. Only the Punkha puller remains unaffected.

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