Humankind in The Three Forster Short Stories
Forster is writing in a time when society was changing dramatically.
When rural life in the countryside was leaving while urban life was
starting. While this is happening mechanically it was also happening
in a mental aspect and the way people live and look at life is
changing. What Forster sees is dangerous results. He was probably
writing in a time like the Industrial revolution when a lot of lives
were taken for the good of experimentation and knowledge. There was
also a view of slave trade and sweatshops for cheap labour as well as
hiring children to risk their lives and go inside the machines to fix
them because only they could fit. Not to mention the pollution view of
it, which was, and still is destroying Forster's passion, nature. Has
humankind lost its way? Clearly in Forsters eyes he thinks so.
For my coursework essay I am going to discuss Forsters view of
humankind and its place in nature.
In each of the stories there is an aspect of nature. We can treat this
as the simplest fact. However if we take it one-step further we can
say The story of Panic is the Past, The Curates Friend is the present
and The Machine Stops is the future judging by the technology,
Machinery and stubbornness by the characters in each story. Different
things in each of these represent nature. In The Story of Panic (The
Past) Nature is represented by the woods, which is reasonable and
quite correct. In The Curates Friend ( The Present ) The Countryside
is represented by nature, which is getting quite strange since most of
Britain is the countryside! And finally in The Machine Stops ( The
Future) The whole surface of the Earth is represented by nature which
is very extreme.
So what we have is a timeline leading from Past to Present to Future
and we can see what humans in the story think of nature. Not only that
in each of the stories humans don't even get close to nature so In The
Story of Panic( Past) The woods are empty. In The Curates friend
(Present) The countryside is empty and everyone is living in the
cities and lastly in The Machine Stops( Future) The surface of The
earth is empty and the population are living underground relying on a
machine which I will speak more about later.
Evaluating this we can see how our connection with nature is leaving
slowly from the past to The future, from the woods to the Surface of
As we know from the three short stories E. M. Forster is particularly
keen on Greece and Italy. This a major effect on Forsters view. He
thinks of them as the creators of nature and the Gods. And as the Gods
created humans we can see where that leads. Researching Forster's life
I found that that during his life he had the freedom to travel a lot.
He liked to travel to Greece and Italy in particular and this is