The power of place in the fiction of E.M. Forster
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By taking a close look at each of E.M. Forster's novels, readers can learn that he, like other authors, appears to be telling the same story over and over again. It is the story of the human desire to connect, even if it means having to adjust that desire to social reality. In each of his novels, he creates characters who struggle through a series of events and complications to reconcile their unique identities with the norms of society, the purpose being to attain significant relationship. But in addition to exploring this theme of authentic connection in the face of countervailing pressures, Forster is also exploring the idea of place and the difference it makes. In all of the novels, place is significant in bringing about different opportunities for connection: Italy in Where Angels Fear to Tread and A Room with a View; pastoral England in The Longest Journey and Howards End; the "greenwood" in Maurice ; and India, his most exotic location, in A Passage to India. In this thesis I emphasize the essential element of place in Forster's characters' quests to develop their hearts and connect.