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A Preliminary Study in E. M. Forster
- A Preliminary Study in E. M. Forster
- Kim, Young Sook
- Issue Date
- 대학원 영어영문학과
- 이화여자대학교 대학원
- Forster is a writer whose concern is with the life of English middles class. He says in his "Notes on English Character" that the worst weakness of their characters are "lack of imagination" and "hypocrisy". To Forster, what always matters is "soul" and not "body". And he goes on, "The undeveloped he art, the heart checked too early, is largely responsible for the difficulties of English abroad." The theme runs through all of his novels as we have noticed.
In "The Longest Journey", he deals with the theme in the scope of the private individual. But the scope is expended into the problem of sex in "A Room With A View" and to that of class in "Howards End". In "A Passage To India", a problem between races is brought forth. He devides his characters and worlds into two: the real and the unreal. Setting up the two worlds, he struggle in the hears of men.
But what make him greater artist is his way of using natural symbols. He is always faithful to natural phenomena for what it really is. As a result of their union with the artist's vision, imagination and emotion, the various phenomena rise up as operative symbols in all his art. Forster's grasp of reality comes from the deliberate use of natural symbols such as, places, weathers, caves, echoes and wasps. To such natural images Forster has attached the strong emotional power of his artistic apprehension of them. He orders his experiences in accordance with formal principles that correspond to complex processes of the human mind but do not necessarily follow the conventionality. He creates a world with laws of its own. He was keenly aware of the disharmonies in his own soul and in his age. For him the only way to be true in to be a true lover of nature and to follow its permanent law. Nature is the only thing that can reveal harmony before us. And here we see his attitude toward modern civilization. For him civilization is always incomparably more dangerous than the barbarism. And it is one of the reasons why he likes raw characters life Stephen Wonham in "The Longest Journey" and George Emerson in "A Room with A View". He is a novelist who trusts heart rather than brain. The same tendency is found in "Howards End". He is always putting his faith into the man of English countryside.
"Here men had been up since dawn. Their hours were ruled, not by a London office, but by the movements of the corps and sun. That they were men of the finest type only the sentimentalists can declare. But they kept to the life of daylight. They are England's hope. Clumsily they carry forward the torch of the sun, until such time as the nation sees fit to take it up. Half clodhopper, half board-school prig, can still throw back to a nobler stock, and breed yeomen."
India is the only land where the sun can make his kingdom and nature is less destroyed by man. In England nature "had seemed dead and alien" but in India,
"Mrs. Moore watched the moon, whose radiance stained with primrose the purple of the surrounding sky. In England the moon had seemed dead and alien; here(in India) she was caught in the shawl of night together with earth and all other stars. A sudden sense of unity, of kinship with the heavenly bodies, passed into the old woman and out, life water through a tank, leaving a strange freshness behind..."
India with its old culture and hot weather forces man to destroy his old system of belief that is mainly based on the European tradition and makes him sceptical. What Mrs. Moore felt in "A Passage To India" after her first exploration to the caves is nothing but the author's disillusionment. Man could not keep his normal mental state under the terrible heat. Mrs. Moore died because of the heat. Miss Quested, though she did not die, made a mistake which meant her mental death. The similar thing can be found in modern French writer Albert Camus' book. In "Stranger" he made his here murder a man because of the heat. Can it be true? possible? Various questions occurs in our minds. Of course they are not the questions which we have to anser now. All we can say about it is that such a thing may happen because we are living in the eternal summer of absurdity.
Yet Forster is not a defeatist. He believe neither absolutely good nor absolutely had man. He sees man as a mixture of good and evil. He has hope in humanity. He believes in man's inherent goodness. He has faith in human nature and reverence for its possibilities.
He is interested in religion not as final answer but as final answer but as human need, not for their absolute truth but for the possibility of adopting it to a rich, harmonious life. In short, he is interested in it so far as it is concerned with humanity. knowing that religion cannot always solve human problem, he sa true humanist, makes every effort to understand human mystery with full of belief in human nature.
There is a visible though unobtrusible natural piety in Forster's works. Holding back his esthetic principle he scarcely offers speculations on the unknown world on the other side of the grave. Bur he is neither a moral nor a metaphysical nihilist. He is a true humanist. The consciousness of God is everywhere in his books.
As he grew older, his books began to involve a tragic view of life. And it seems to me that his tragic view of life comes out of his perennial contrast of the permanence of nature to evanescence of man. But he does not repine. Here is nature and here also is man with his nature. Forster's best works stand for permanence. The underlying symbolic structure, the subjects, and the language belong to the world of human thought and the language belong to the world of human thought and continuity. This world of continuum and permanence is the true artist's paradise.
Is life a "maddle" or a "mystery"? He merely offers a question and refuses to be conclusive. He only showed us an aspect of reality, a mode of conduct, a way of living and a vision of life in his works. He does not want to be a "preacher" or a "teacher". At any rate, there are the questions I want to ask: What positive meanings has he found? What harmonies has he solved from the chaos of modern experience? What has he won from the fear of death and contributed to the triumph of soul?
I have discussed E.M. Forster as a novelist. As Forster says "Novelist is a genius, I have tried to suggest the way in which Forster's genius has worked, but the effect of that genius must always be a matter between the author and his readers. I have simply considered some of its aspects. I am not trying to contribute in any way to Forster's greatness. The greatness is there, in his novels.
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