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The Spike or Victoria University College Review 1948



All this is only hinted at in his earlier novels. For he has more direct concerns. 'Where Angels Fear to Tread' (1905) and 'A Room with a View' (1908) might be read solely as highly amusing social comedies. Admittedly the former ends on a tragic vein with the sudden death of Gino's child after Harriet has kidnapped her, but explicit in both is the contrast between life in suburban England on the one hand and in Italy—land of sunshine and laughter—on the other. The conventions as against the natural and spontaneous, the distinction between the real and the pretended. Both are novels of personal drama. In 'Where Angels Fear to Treads the hero is undoubtedly Gino, the Italian son of a local dentist who marries Lilia, a widowed middle class suburban Englishwoman. She dies in childbirth and the story from then on centers around the surviving child of two alien worlds. She (Caroline) was silent. This cruel vicious fellow knew of strange refinements. The horrible truth, that wicked people are capable of love stood naked before her and her moral being was abashed. It was her duty to rescue the baby and save it from contagion. and she still meant to do her duty. But the comfortable sense of virtue left her. She was in the presence of something greater than right or wrong.' The conflict then is between love and arid moral duty. Forster leaves no doubt as to which is the real and which the pretended.

Likewise in 'A Room with a View ' Lucy's refusal to recognize her love for George brings an impassioned plea from George's father. 'You must marry or your life will be wasted. You have gone too far to retreat. I have no time for the tenderness, and the comradeship and the poetry and the things that really matter and for which you marry. I know that with George you will find them and that you love him. Then be his wife. He is already part of you. . . . It isn't possible to love and to part. I know by experience the poets are right: love is eternal.' But more, love is real, and Lucy must recognize this, forsake pretence. It requires only that she be true to her inner self. Nothing in the world is more important than that.