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By Norman Page (auth.)

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20 E. M. Forster may be taken back to Sawston and receive the advantages of an English middle-class Protestant education. This time, unknown to the others, Caroline makes her own way to Monteriano; thus this rescue operation is more complex than the previous one. It is also more tragic in its results, since the baby, which was to have been 'saved' from its Italian father and Catholic upbringing, is killed in an accident after Harriet has stolen it from its father. So much for the outlines of the story, and it will be seen at once that in this very short novel Forster has contrived to touch on most of the major events of life and the major themes of fiction: love and marriage, birth and death.

Which of our actions, which of our idlenesses, won't have things hanging on it for ever. Her words are prophetic, for the baby's death is the result of Mrs Herriton's arrogant pride and may be said to be precipitated by Philip's 'idleness' or lack of moral seriousness as well as Harriet's action. Forster is above all a moralist, and his achievement in Where Angels Fear to Tread was to effect a successul integration of the 'moral' and the 'story'. F. R. Leavis has gone so far as to 30 E. M. 30 To be fair to its successors, it attempts less than, for example, The Longest Journey or Howards End, and if they are more seriously flawed this is the price paid for their grander ambitions.

More than this, his work was already markedly original (a word used by many of the reviewers of 1905), even idiosyncratic. This quality is to be seen in, for example, the tiny incident that ends the first chapter, in which Mrs Herriton finds that the sparrows have eaten the peas she has sown and that only the torn-up fragments of the letter remain in the garden. 'disfiguring the tidy ground'. The tone of the incident, never referred to again, is casual and comic but the trivial episode has the power of a poetic symbol.

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