In closing, a note about some of the outdated and offensive terms that appear in Forster’s story, such as “mulatto,” “half-caste,” “wog,” and “dago." These are all examples of how specific words contain a history of racism and oppression, and I think Forster uses them quite sarcastically and bitterly in his rejection of the “Ruling Race” (the British) and its own sense of racial superiority. Forster’s use of language here highlights the constructed differences between the “West” and its fantasized or projected “others” (see Edward Said's seminal study, Orientalism). Keep some of this in mind for next week’s reading, Heart of Darkness, and think about how Conrad’s text explores the various ways in which language is used as a colonizing force.
E. M. Forster, by Dora Carrington, c. 1924–1925