The Themes Of Forster's Rescue Essay

1231 words - 5 pages

The Themes of Forster's Rescue

Forster uses the idea of Rescue as a continuous motif throughout the
book. It returns with different connotations in different situations.
For example, when Philip leaves to try and stop Lilia marrying an
Italian. This is the first of two rescue parties and is a physical
plan to rescue a character. However, Forster also uses the idea of
rescue through the development of Caroline and Philip's character.
Here "rescue" has connotations of conversion and being saved. These
two characters develop an emotional maturity am d knowledge of self
that allow them to belong to the category of the "saved". There are
also failures associated with these attempts of rescue. Philip failed
to prevent Lilia's marriage to the Italian and the rescue party that
departed to save the baby failed.

In order to examine why the rescue parties, dispatched from England,
failed in their original plan we should consider why these parties
assumed the right to determine the characters that need rescuing and
the right to rescue them. Mrs Herriton dispatched Philip "so Philip
was received with the news that he must start in half an hour for
Monteriano" Forster implies that it is Mrs Herriton's decision to send
a rescue party rather than Philip choosing to go and save Lilia. As
Mrs Herriton is Lilia's mother-in-law she has no real right to assume
this responsibility. However she does so and her reason, as she claims
is, "If Lilia marries him she insults the memory of Charles, she
insults Irma, she insults us. Therefore I forbid her and if she
disobeys we have done with her forever". This suggests that she is
protecting the memory of her son. Her reprimand of Mrs Theobald,
"using plain language about Lilia's conduct" hints that this is not
the only reason she feels the right to undertake this responsibility.
Mrs Herriton had always "schemed to prevent the match" of Lilia and
Charles. However, when this didn't succeed she turned to the
"supervision of her daughter0in-law. Lilia be pushed through life
without bringing discredit to the family". Mrs Herriton feels socially
superior and as the Italian is socially inferior Lilia will be
discrediting the family and she must do all she can to prevent it. As
Lilia recognises "for 12 years you've trained me and tortured me, and
I'll stand it no more". By going to Italy Lilia is being saved from
the Herritons and all they represent for her. Therefore, one of the
reasons this rescue party failed may be due to the fact that Lilia did
not want rescuing.

The next rescue mission is a little more complex. The narration of the
story describes people rescuing the baby. However, it is within this
that Philip and Caroline go through their conversion. Caroline Abbott
initiates the plan to rescue the baby. This is for reasons of morality
and ethics....

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