Download The Good Soldier free in PDF & EPUB format. Download Ford Madox Ford's The Good Soldier for your kindle, tablet, IPAD, PC or. The Good Soldier. Ford Madox Ford. This web edition published by [email protected] Adelaide. Last updated Wednesday, December 17, at To the best of . "Borrowed Desire in Ford Madox Ford's The Good Soldier'' Although John Dowell frequently claims not to understand the significance of the story that he is.
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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Good Soldier, by Ford Madox Ford This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions. Free kindle book and epub digitized and proofread by Project Gutenberg. in that continent were. *PDF created by anesi.info 1 For all good soldiers are sentimentalists–all good soldiers of that type. Their profession, for one.
First, there is Florence, whose "illness," as Dowell himself recognizes, makes of her "at once a wife and an unattainable mistress" Enter the email address you signed up with and we'll email you a reset link. Essentially, he tries to make it a story about scapegoating. His only contribution to the story of their romance is the tears that he weeps throughout Francesca's narrative. Why read this book? For this reason, the crippled figure of Dowell epitomizes -- every bit as much as the romantic figure of Edward -- the more generalized fate of an entire community that is condemned -- in the absence of protective restraints --to act upon its borrowed desires.
While his strongest sympathies are directed towards Edward, he does recognize that each of his major characters has, in fact, suffered a "tragic" destiny.
His enumeration of the multiple tragedies that constitute his story include the following: Leonora wanted Edward, and she got Rodney Bayham Florence wanted Branshaw, and it is Dowell who has bought it from Leonora although he didn't really want it. He most wanted to cease being a nurse-attendant, which is precisely what he has become.
Edward wanted Nancy Rufford, while it is Dowell who now has her. Dowell generalizes these situations in his remark that "It is a queer and fantastic world" as well as in his question, "Why can't people have what they want?
In this alternative reading of his story's pattern, the mythic image of a community which assures its unity by resorting to the ritual expulsion of a scapegoat gives way to the more accurate image of an entire community which-- lacking recourse to a sacrificial ritual --collectively endures the suffering that was supposed to be reserved for its scapegoat.
Dowell would like Edward and Nancy Rufford to be the unique victims of an exclusionary ritual organized by their society in order to assure its normalcy.
In the course of his narrative, however, he clearly shows that the pattern of exclusion -- rather than being a single, unifying event -- is repeated continually in such a way as actually to signify the disintegration of the community.
Dowell, to begin with, describes himself-- by reason of his physical and moral apathy-- as excluded from the company of Florence, Edward and Leonora, whom he describes as "three hardened gamblers" He describes Mrs. Maidan as sitting "down beside a screen that had Edward and Florence on the other side" 80 ; there, she has the shattering experience of hearing Edward describe her as "a little rat.
The pervasiveness of this recurrent pattern is such that it will emerge in quite trivial details, including the otherwise insignificant mention of Carter, Dowell's second-nephew, twice removed, who has become the object of familial hostility because he is a Democrat in the midst of a community of Republicans.
The crucial element of the pattern -- not only its repeated enactment but the interchangeability of the roles of persecutor and victim -- is symbolized by the word "shuttlecock. As Dowell immediately reminds us, however, "Edward himself considered that those two women used him like a shuttlecock" The requirement of an authentic sacrificial ritual -- that it unite the community of persecutors against its chosen victim -- is thus undermined by the destabilizing proliferation of exclusionary acts.
Edward Ashburnham, for example, is an avid reader of sentimental novels, which induce in him second-hand, stereotypical emotions. These novels are undoubtedly the source of the "mad passion to find an ultimately satisfying woman" that will lead him ultimately to his suicide. Dowell will further suggest that his reading teaches Edward how, not only to feel, but also to speak: Dowell again emphasizes the factitious, literary origin of Edward's personality when he confides to us that "[h]e wanted to be looked upon as a sort of Lohengrin" Nancy Rufford will, in her turn, contribute to this motif by thinking of Edward as the Cid, as Lohengrin, and as the Chevalier Bayard.
This pattern whereby a character looks outside of himself for a model or a cue capable of implanting a desire in him applies, in fact, to all the major characters in the novel. Florence's passion for Edward Ashburnham, for example, is prepared for by events that long predated her birth. Her ancestors had owned Edward Ashburnham's family's estate, for several centuries.
Thus, what might appear to be an entirely personal passion for acceptance into British society is in reality a borrowed passion bequeathed to her by her ancestors.
Later, Dowell will allude to the artificiality of the self formed by these borrowed desires when he describes the fabricated quality of Florence's personality: This pattern of borrowed desires and behavior applies as well to Dowell himself, who is fundamentally desireless until he submits to Leonora's tutelage. With respect to Nancy Rufford, for example, Dowell assures us that "I never had the slightest idea even of caring for her" Leonora's telling Dowell, '[o]f course you might marry her" awakens in him a desire that apparently would never have found its way to his heart without the intermediary of this suggestion.
In yet another enactment of this pattern, it is Leonora who induces Nancy Rufford to give herself to Edward. The pattern whereby characters in the novel need rely upon a third party to point them toward a desirable object also emerges in the relationship between Americans and the British in the novel. Thus, Dowell admits that he sees in English life the most complete expression of perfection that he can possibly imagine. Even though he may fault the English habit of "taking everyone for granted," he does not want his listener to interpret this as a criticism of English life in generai.
Edward Ashburnham will, in his turn, epitomize, the ultimate desirability of the English character: Dowell points to the comic aspect of this otherwise tragic dilemma when he describes the frustration of Americans who have taken the English as their models, thus assuring that they will never be anything more than derivative imitations of the real thing.
The destiny of these Americans to be persistently outclassed by the English characters that they want to emulate will typify Florence's relationship with Leonora: I don't know what Leonora knew or what she didn't know but certainly she was always there whenever Florence brought out any information" Dowell alludes again to the pathos of Florence's being trapped by this rivalistic compulsion with her English model when he observes her doing her "homework" before one of their cultural outings.
Dowell himself seems likewise to become the comical victim of his desire to have his value certified in the eyes of the British. We notice this, for example, in his feelings about the letters that he addresses to the editors of newspapers: The double-bind into which Dowell's desire for recognition has thrust him -- whereby the idealized British editors capable of conferring the only distinction that he desires choose to withhold it -- also appears in his speculation that, in Leonora's eyes, he and Florence are nothing more than "two casual Yankees whom she could not have regarded as being much more than a carpet beneath her feet" God bless you..
The predicament to which Dowell alludes here is a paradigm of the novel as a whole, whose underlying principle is that the desirability of an object and its inaccessibility will be one and the same thing. Thus, the distant view of the cliffs of England, as seen from Calais, will be as close as Florence comes to fulfilling her dream of being received by English society.
Likewise, Edward will pass through a succession of women who have been made only relatively inaccessible by social convention until he finds, in Nancy Rufford, a woman who awakens in him the desire for the truly "unthinkable thing. At that point, he will, by killing himself, commit the act to which his pursuit of these objects had eventually to lead.
Dowell romanticizes Edward's behavior as motivated by his..
More careful analysis of Edward's successive adventures reveals, however, that the desired object is not so much the woman herself as it is the "ultimately satisfying" frustration that she provokes. Thus, Dowell continually stresses, in his description of each of Edward's women, the presence of another man who who has made a rival claim to them. The repeated acts of blackmailing to which Edward subjects himself in these adventures suggests that the woman herself is less important than the promise of destructive rivalry that this prior claimant offers.
His governing instinct to seek an encounter with a truly invincible rival may likewise be deduced from his addiction to gambling. Cousineau 9 Like Edward, Dowell will dutifully pursue an object of desire only on condition that it also become an obstacle. Edward is brought to his tragic end by his quest for a genuinely inaccessible woman.
Dowell, in his turn, endures a characteristically pathetic destiny that is similarly brought about by women who are not available to him.
First, there is Florence, whose "illness," as Dowell himself recognizes, makes of her "at once a wife and an unattainable mistress" Much later, he will find himself reliving this seemingly unalterable pattern when his desire to become a copy of Edward Ashburnham leads him to desire marriage with Nancy Rufford, which is prohibited this time-- not by the taboo against incest-- but by the impediment of insanity. Dowell, for example, likens Edward to Odysseus when, alluding to his affair with Ia Dolciquita, he describes him as "in the arms of his Circe" Dowell will likewise use literary metaphors to underline this derivative element, as when, in the midst of recounting Edward's moonlight encounter with Nancy, he exclaims, "[i]t is melodrama; but I can't help it" , and when he alludes somewhat dismissively to Florence as wishing "to appear like a heroine of a French comedy" Towards the end of The Good Soldier Dowell will enlist a literary allusion in his effort to imbue Edward with heroic grandeur: Ford, however, weaves into the novel many details that suggest that the tragic fate to which Edward has been consigned finds its major literary antecedent in Dante's Inferno.
While Dante is never mentioned by name, Dowell does allude to the three phases of the Divine Comedy, when he mentions heaven, hell and what he calls the "intermediate stage" which he mistakenly identifies as Limbo. Despite its catalogue of death, insanity, and despair, the novel has many comic moments, and has inspired the work of several distinguished writers, including Graham Greene.
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