Where Angels Fear To Tread, By E.M. Forster

1759 words - 7 pages

“Fools rush in where angels fear to tread,” is a saying is commonly used to emphasize how ignorance can result in decisions that lead to unfavorable situations. Likewise, in Where Angels Fear to Tread, Edward Morgan Forster uses irony, point of view, and satire to effectively emphasize how stereotypes, prejudices, misunderstanding of cultural differences, and hypocrisy could lead to unfavorable circumstances. Where Angels Fear to Tread begins as a light and comedic novel but later develops to become more dense and tragic.
The novel starts off in a train station in England where a widow named Lilia Herriton prepares to leave on a trip to the fictional Italian town of Monteriano. Her mother-in-law, Mrs. Herriton, and her two children, Phillip and Harriet, are sending her on this trip in the hopes of separating her from her suitors. Lilia is accompanied by a family friend, Caroline Abbott, who the Herritons hope would watch over her. A month passes by and the Herritons receive a letter that informs them that Lilia is engaged to an Italian man, Signor Gino Carella. Enraged, Mrs. Herriton sends her son Phillip to break up the engagement. However, Phillip arrives too late and Lilia had already married Signor Carella. Phillip and Ms. Abbot then return to England after failing to break up the marriage.
Months pass by and the Herritons receive another letter that informs them that Lilia had given birth to a baby boy but had died during childbirth. Mrs. Herriton did not believe that Signor Carella was capable of being a father and sent Phillip and Harriet to Italy to retrieve the baby. Ms. Abbott, believing she had failed Lilia the first time, joined them on their trip. While in Italy, Ms. Abbott and Phillip have a change of heart and start to realize that they had misjudged Signor Carella and that he was not as bad as they had thought. Ms. Abbott starts to realize that Signor Carella really loved his son and would not part with him. Phillip starts to see Italy in a new light and realizes why Lilia had decided to stay there. Phillip and Ms. Abbott, accepting defeat once again, decide to return to England. Harriet, however, decides to take things into her own hands and kidnaps the baby. On their way to the train station, Harriet and Phillip get into an accident which results in the death of the baby.
Where Angels Fear to Tread is written in the third-person omniscient point of view and follows several characters as they discover more about the people around them and learn to let go of their prejudices. The novel does not focus on a single main character but rather on a group of characters. This allows the reader to enter the minds of the characters as they undergo emotional change and learn to accept people who are different from themselves. For example, in the in the beginning of the novel, Phillip is infatuated with Italian people and culture. Because of this, his view of Italy becomes distorted and he begins to hold a false view that all Italians...

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