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Artemis
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Re: admire Edward

Jd, I have to disagree with your point that Dowell is the titular "good soldier." I think the good soldier is Edward (not only because he is actually an officer in the British army, whereas Dowell has never served). This book was published in 1915 - a year after the start of WWI, and while the war is never directly referred to, it haunts the whole novel (e.g.: many of the novel's important events coincidentally take place on August 4th of various years - Britain entered WWI on August 4, 1914). By ironically referring to Edward, whose immorality is pervasive, as a "good soldier", Ford is making a connection between the moral degradation of British society and the cataclysmic events of WWI.
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Fozzie
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Re: admire Edward


Artemis wrote:
I think Dowell's admiration for Edward is sincere. Especially because so much of his life is focused on becoming more like Edward and getting the things he has (including his house). Dowell refuses to see Edward's dark side, but rather emphasizes his sentimentality and romanticism, excusing his faults in their name.



Yes, this is along the lines of what I thought.

I thought Dowell was trying to convince himself that Edward was a good person so as to justify not only his (Dowell's) interest in Edward, but to justify spending years with the man and having been deceived by Edward, possibly for several years.
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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Fozzie
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Re: Edward Was The Good Soldier


Artemis wrote:
Jd, I have to disagree with your point that Dowell is the titular "good soldier." I think the good soldier is Edward (not only because he is actually an officer in the British army, whereas Dowell has never served). This book was published in 1915 - a year after the start of WWI, and while the war is never directly referred to, it haunts the whole novel (e.g.: many of the novel's important events coincidentally take place on August 4th of various years - Britain entered WWI on August 4, 1914). By ironically referring to Edward, whose immorality is pervasive, as a "good soldier", Ford is making a connection between the moral degradation of British society and the cataclysmic events of WWI.



This section describes Edward as the good soldier:

"Good God, what did they all see in him? for I swear there was all there was of him, inside and out; though they said he was a good soldier. Yet, Leonora adored him with a passion that was like an agony, and hated him with an agony that was as bitter as the sea. How could he arouse anything like a sentiment, in anybody?

What did he even talk to them about—when they were under four eyes?—Ah, well, suddenly, as if by a flash of inspiration, I know. For all good soldiers are sentimentalists—all good soldiers of that type. Their profession, for one thing, is full of the big words, courage, loyalty, honour, constancy. And I have given a wrong impression of Edward Ashburnham if I have made you think that literally never in the course of our nine years of intimacy did he discuss what he would have called "the graver things." Even before his final outburst to me, at times, very late at night, say, he has blurted out something that gave an insight into the sentimental view of the cosmos that was his. He would say how much the society of a good woman could do towards redeeming you, and he would say that constancy was the finest of the virtues. He said it very stiffly, of course, but still as if the statement admitted of no doubt (Part I, Section III)."
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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Choisya
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Re: Edward Was The Good Soldier

[ Edited ]
The words 'good soldier' can refer to someone other than a military man. We speak of 'soldiering on' in the face of adversity, we call children 'good little soldiers' and so on. Perhaps Dowell could also be called a 'good soldier' because he soldiered on in the face of adversity? Perhaps other characters are 'good soldiers' too - as JD has suugested elsewhere about Leonora?




Fozzie wrote:

Artemis wrote:
Jd, I have to disagree with your point that Dowell is the titular "good soldier." I think the good soldier is Edward (not only because he is actually an officer in the British army, whereas Dowell has never served). This book was published in 1915 - a year after the start of WWI, and while the war is never directly referred to, it haunts the whole novel (e.g.: many of the novel's important events coincidentally take place on August 4th of various years - Britain entered WWI on August 4, 1914). By ironically referring to Edward, whose immorality is pervasive, as a "good soldier", Ford is making a connection between the moral degradation of British society and the cataclysmic events of WWI.



This section describes Edward as the good soldier:

"Good God, what did they all see in him? for I swear there was all there was of him, inside and out; though they said he was a good soldier. Yet, Leonora adored him with a passion that was like an agony, and hated him with an agony that was as bitter as the sea. How could he arouse anything like a sentiment, in anybody?

What did he even talk to them about—when they were under four eyes?—Ah, well, suddenly, as if by a flash of inspiration, I know. For all good soldiers are sentimentalists—all good soldiers of that type. Their profession, for one thing, is full of the big words, courage, loyalty, honour, constancy. And I have given a wrong impression of Edward Ashburnham if I have made you think that literally never in the course of our nine years of intimacy did he discuss what he would have called "the graver things." Even before his final outburst to me, at times, very late at night, say, he has blurted out something that gave an insight into the sentimental view of the cosmos that was his. He would say how much the society of a good woman could do towards redeeming you, and he would say that constancy was the finest of the virtues. He said it very stiffly, of course, but still as if the statement admitted of no doubt (Part I, Section III)."

Message Edited by Choisya on 02-23-200701:03 PM

jd
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jd
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Re: admire Edward

Artemis - I feel that good soldier as a title might belong to E. although I see several good soldiers in the book. I agree the connect to dates and events and the story title are all related to WWI and FMF's take on the war to end all wars. But ... he was also writing about humankind and our tendency to self destruct which was how we end up with Dowell watching everyone die or go nuts inspite of having strict guidelines by society, the military, the church or our spouses to prevent this. Again I am brainstorming and welcome all comments, jd
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Re: admire Edward



Artemis wrote: By ironically referring to Edward, whose immorality is pervasive, as a "good soldier", Ford is making a connection between the moral degradation of British society and the cataclysmic events of WWI.




If I understood that rightly the title wasn't chosen with intention. He wanted to call it The Saddest Story but his publisher didn't think the title would sell in wartime, so FMF said in exasperation 'call it A Good Soldier', and they did. Later he wanted to change the title but it didn't happen.

ziki
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Edward



jd wrote: Again I am brainstorming and welcome all comments, jd



I thought the good Soldier refered to Edward because he was in the service in India but I liked your twist. Neither of the men had any clearcut purpose. Edward's was dictated by Leonora and Dowell was just a shadow of himself and of others. Both were lost to themselves. Dowell emasculated, asexual, restrained, cheated, a nurse. Edward couldn't rely on traditions any more and he was instead pursuing some idea of an ideal.

Edward and Nancy, could it work? Why was he hesitating if she was his ultimate woman? Woody Allen went for it, LOL.

ziki
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Re: admire Edward



Fozzie wrote:I thought Dowell was trying to convince himself that Edward was a good person so as to justify not only his (Dowell's) interest in Edward, but to justify spending years with the man and having been deceived by Edward, possibly for several years.




Perhaps Edward was a role model for Dowell, the tradition, poise. But it was that tradition that no longer worked for Edward, for several reasons he couldn't use it as his crutch. Now at the end Dowell is sitting there with what he thought he wanted and feels only deceived. The deception seems to be layered. This must be an earthquake for Dowell.

Dunno,maybe I am totally off.

ziki
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saltydog
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Re: Edward Was The Good Soldier



Choisya wrote:
The words 'good soldier' can refer to someone other than a military man. We speak of 'soldiering on' in the face of adversity, we call children 'good little soldiers' and so on. Perhaps Dowell could also be called a 'good soldier' because he soldiered on in the face of adversity? Perhaps other characters are 'good soldiers' too - as JD has suugested elsewhere about Leonora?




Fozzie wrote:

Artemis wrote:
Jd, I have to disagree with your point that Dowell is the titular "good soldier." I think the good soldier is Edward (not only because he is actually an officer in the British army, whereas Dowell has never served). This book was published in 1915 - a year after the start of WWI, and while the war is never directly referred to, it haunts the whole novel (e.g.: many of the novel's important events coincidentally take place on August 4th of various years - Britain entered WWI on August 4, 1914). By ironically referring to Edward, whose immorality is pervasive, as a "good soldier", Ford is making a connection between the moral degradation of British society and the cataclysmic events of WWI


Some fuel for the fire! This is a quote from the web site Literacy Encyclopedia (http://litency.com) The Good Soldier: A Tale of Passion by Sara Haslam, Open University.

".....Its original title was the Saddest Story. John Lane, Ford Madox Ford's publisher (one of the founders of the Bodley Head), dec idedd that this description of the tale was one inappropriate to 1915 and a nation at war. The second choice of The Good Soldier: a Tale of Passion was one that Ford Madox Ford insisted ever afterward he had only mentiones as an iron ic jest, out of disc ust for the sensibilities of a society that had only one kind of respon se to the disjunctian and fragmentation of the modern world......."

So it would appear Ford did not attribute any particular meaning to the title. It should also be noted he did not enter active service in the war until after the novel had been published.

"
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jd
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jd
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Re: admire Edward

So the good soldier could be several things, including a poor title choice. I had totally forgotten the foreword where he wanted it to be called the Saddest Story. Thanx. I love being the midst of big brains, it feels so secure.
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Artemis
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Re: admire Edward

jd, I totally agree with you. I think self-destruction is one of the most important themes in the novel - both on a personal level for the individual characters, as well as on a societal level with the First World War. The novel continually spirals in on itself, until the end, where we're left with only Dowell (who is alone, except for Nancy who is insane), who is telling/writing a story to no one. The novel projects no future for itself. I think FMF is reflecting on the human tendancy towards self-destruction, especially considering how - on a macro level - WWI must have seemed at the time in some ways like the end of the world.
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destruction



Artemis wrote:
jd, I totally agree with you. I think self-destruction is one of the most important themes in the novel - both on a personal level for the individual characters, as well as on a societal level with the First World War. The novel continually spirals in on itself, until the end, where we're left with only Dowell (who is alone, except for Nancy who is insane), who is telling/writing a story to no one. The novel projects no future for itself. I think FMF is reflecting on the human tendancy towards self-destruction, especially considering how - on a macro level - WWI must have seemed at the time in some ways like the end of the world.




Artemis, you put that well, the spiraling self--destruction--that the characters do not notice until it is too late (some were even not around to notice).

ziki
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brains



jd wrote: I love being the midst of big brains, it feels so secure.




We all do...and if they can gather on net like here.....the better :-)

It's a pleasure to read with you guys!

ziki
jd
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jd
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Re: brains



ziki wrote:


jd wrote: I love being the midst of big brains, it feels so secure.




We all do...and if they can gather on net like here.....the better :-)

It's a pleasure to read with you guys!

ziki


jd says ditto
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