The Good Soldier
Ford, Ford Madox
1)Dowell, the main character, tells the stories of those dissolutions as well as the deaths of three characters and the madness of a fourth, in a rambling, non-chronological fashion that leaves gaps for the reader to fill.The novels opening with its famous line, “This is the saddest story I have ever heard.” Florence and Edward had an affair under his nose for nine years without John knowing until Florence was dead. Florence’s affair with Edward leads her to commit suicide when she realizes that Edward is falling in love with his and Leonora’s young ward, Nancy Rufford, the daughter of Leonora's closest friend. Dowell runs through several of Edward’s affairs and peccadilloes, including his possibly innocent attempt to comfort a crying servant on a train; his affair with the married Maisie Maidan, the one character in the book whose heart problem was unquestionably real.Edward’s last affair is his most scandalous, as he becomes infatuated with their young ward, Nancy.Edward intends to keep his passion for Nancy chaste, but only wants Nancy to continue to love him from afar. Dowell closes the novel by telling the story of Edward’s suicide.
2) I believe a good theme for The Good Soldier would be the difference between appearance and actual reality because throughout the whole book the reader is trying to fill in the blanks until the end where everything comes together.
3) The author has more of a confused, naive, and angry tone; the narrator's tone changes throughout the novel as he tells the story and reflects back on the events which have occurred.“I know nothing - nothing in the world - of the hearts of men. I only know that I am alone - horribly alone.” “If for nine years I have possessed a goodly apple that is rotten at the core and discover its rottenness only in nine years and six months less four days, isn't it true to say that for nine years I possessed a goodly apple?”“So I shall just imagine myself for a fortnight or so at one side of the fireplace of a country cottage, with a sympathetic soul opposite me. And I shall go on talking, in a low voice while the sea sounds in the distance and overhead the great black flood of wind polishes the bright stars.” These are all great examples of his tone.
4) Five key Literary elements or techniques that Ford Madox uses in his story are allegory, figuritive language, alliteration, irony, allusion. In using “The Good Soldier”, as an allegory, the Apostle Paul was encouraging the younger preacher to be ready for hard times, to be good at what he does, to totally commit himself to the Lord’s service. I find this ironic,“We are all so afraid, we are all so alone, we all so need from the outside the assurance of our own worthiness to exist.” The figurative language he uses in this quote just makes it stand out “There is no man who loves a woman that does not desire to come to her for the renewal of his courage, for the cutting asunder of his difficulties. And that will be the mainspring of his desire for her. We are all so afraid, we are all so alone, we all so need from the outside the assurance of our own worthiness to exist.”