A nuanced exploration of family dynamics, moral identity and cross-cultural perceptions: Where Angels Fear to Tread by E.M. Forster

Watercolour Illustration of the fictitious Italian town of Monteriano, scene of much of the character development and thematic development of Forster's Where Angels Fear to Tread

The basic storyline of E.M. Forster’s Where Angels Fear to Tread revolves around the child of a mixed marriage and the various characters’ feelings, motives and actions regarding it. Yet this storyline is the vehicle for exploring the struggle between moral conviction and moral apathy, deliberate action and passivity. All this, against the backdrop of cross-cultural judgements and misunderstandings, social fears and crumbling idealism and romanticism. Snippets of foretelling and a very clear picture of several characters’ cultural arrogance and blindness gives the reader a privileged perspective on the events. Looking back now, I can see how the story’s construction sucked me into making moral judgements and then raised a bunch of questions about moral action (or inaction) and my own cultural blind-spots. Probably my least favourite Forster book of the four I’ve read so far, yet I still loved every minute of it!

This entry was posted in 20th Century, 20th Century Literature, British, Classic, Family Drama, Fiction, General adult audience, Novel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *