Compare the way in which Forster and Smith present the relationships of Aziz and Fielding and Archie and Samad in "A Passage to India" and "White Teeth".
Archie, Samad, Aziz and Fielding are the central characters in their respective novels. Forster and Smith allow their friendships to evolve as events such as "The trouble with Millat" and the trial of Aziz cause problems that the friends help each other through. Both authors use the relationships of their characters to communicate issues such as race and religion, which are relevant in both novels. Forster and Smith communicate the idea that these are friendships, which cross boundaries of race, religion, class and culture.
The social and political backdrop of Forster's novel is India at the time of the British Raj. "A Passage to India" is a linear novel whereas "White Teeth" is a diasporic novel which moves between time periods.
Therefore the social and political context is quite different. At one point in the novel, Smith writes about the publication of the controversial book about Islam written by Salman Rushdie called "The Satanic Verses" in 1988. The religious issues raised by Salman Rushdie contribute to the novel, as do the prejudices towards religions such as Jehovah's witnesses. Forster establishes the friendship of Aziz and Fielding in a context which approaches the constraints of the colonial world and the conclusion that a multi-racial friendship could not be accepted by contemporary society. With "White Teeth" however, the two men are practically removed from the politicised context of the novel and instead are placed in the multicultural environment of O'Connell's which is a small cafÃÂ© where then men enjoy socialising away from their families.
The friendship between Aziz and Fielding seems unlikely as the coloniser and the colonised. Forster is trying...