Bre Teschendorf

What did happen in the cave?

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Sravya Personally,I feel like her engagement with Ronny created a sort of disillusion for her. Which in turn, gave her an overwhelming feeling and constrained her. India is very humid, and so that adds to the pressure and feeling of being closed in, almost claustrophobic in a way. All the pressure just sort of pushed on her and created this sort of closeness/intimacy that she did not wish to have. So I think that feeling is what brought on the supposed "insult", not an actual physical male trying to mess with her. But this is just my viewpoint :]
I would really like to know what actually did happen in that cave though, from the author's perspective in writing the story. Or maybe he doesn't know himself. It could just be a "left to the imagination" thing.
Marlies I disagree. It's not up to the reader. If the author says it's to remain uncertain, and the book will change if whatever happened in the cave is made concrete, it should remain uncertain. The reader should never assume this or that happened, but be satisfied with the question "what happened in the cave?" and not having an answer to it. What's more important than what happened in that cave, is everything else.
Julia Agris The author actually answered this question in a letter: "In the cave it is either a man, or the supernatural, or an illusion. If I say, it becomes whatever the answer a different book. And even if I know! My writing mind therefore is a blur here = i.e. I will it to remain a blur, and to be uncertain, as I am of many facts in daily life."

So, with this in mind, I believe it's up to the reader!
Kateřina I think it was just claustrophobia - hot day, the air in the caves was different, maybe a bat? Also, the clothes women wore back then were much more constricting, so it could have possibly contributed.
Lisa Thomson I don't think anything happened in the cave. She got claustrophobia and a panic attack when she was asked about her pheonce. She had to flee and then had to blame her behavior on someone. He was the scapegoat. But the event was the turning point in the novel and the symbol of white/Indian unrest at the time.
~☆~Autumn♥♥☔ Wells I agree with you that they had panic attacks. I think they both had some mystical revelation in the cave which altered their lives. I suspect some ancient God of that area induced the panic. Adela seemed to be super confused but her friend had a greater insight into what happened there.
I recently read Picnic at Hanging Rock and a similar confusion occurred there due to the large possibly granite rocks which create an electromagnetic field. There were also sexual undertones in Picnic at Hanging Rock.
Huck Flynn There is nothing in the novel to support any sort of attack by Aziz and the inference is that the heat and dark and confine and echo of the cave caused Adela to have some sort of claustrophobic panic attack. Later, before the trial she states that the echo has gone and she realises that Aziz is innocent. At the trial she admits that Aziz did not follow her into the cave. I agree with Sravya's comment about Adela's feeling of claustrophobia echoing the pressure of her doubts about the engagement to Ronny and a future she has no control over. Her questions to Aziz about his wife and how many wives he had just before the "incident" reveal her preoccupation and state of mind. The cave incident serves to polarise and magnify the racial divide; pre-judgements are made based not on evidence but tribalism and personal prejudice (on both sides) and this disconnect is a repeating theme in Forster's books. Colonialism is the cave that prevented a fair and equal basis for Indians and English to integrate.
Adrienne Adela says in Chapter 22 "He never actually touched me once."
Spock's Cat
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