Conversations between British and Indian Characters in A Passage to India: A Reappraisal of Politeness Theory
Complete registryShow full item record
This article investigates the discoursive dimension of literary texts at the level of character’s interaction drawing its evidence from E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India (1924). Firstly, the main categories proposed by Brown and Levinson (1978, 1987) in their seminal study of ‘politeness phenomena’ are presented together with some of the questions raised by the application of the theory to social psychology and stylistic analyses. This model is the applied to fictional conversations between British and Indian participants in order to discover the ways linguistic strategies are selected to limit other participant’s freedom (‘negative face’) or challenge their personal image (‘positive face’). This selection of verbal strategies will convey information about power relations, and the way speakers react to these circumstances. Tentative conclusions call for revision and further research.