May 15th IRJE: Maurice

E. M Foster’s Maurice is a homosexual love story that takes place in 20th century England. As a young boy, Maurice was introduced to the concepts of heterosexual relationships and intercourse by his prep school teacher Mr. Ducie, who claimed that marriage was an ultimate goal. Maurice grows up living a mediocre life, with a secret doubt and fear of engaging in romantic relationships. Then he enters a college, which appeared to inspire him at first sight.

“Once inside college, his discoveries multiplied. People turned out to be alive. Hitherto he had supposed that they were what he pretended to be – flat pieces of cardboard stamped with a conventional design – but as he strolled about the courts at night and saw through the windows some men singing and others arguing and others at their books, there came by no process of reason a conviction that they were human beings with feelings akin to his own.” (p. 30)

I can relate to this section of the book on a personal level. “People turned out to be alive” is a very simple yet touching sentence for me. Its meaning is self-explanatory but somehow very enlightening. Growing up, it was told as a fact to me, but I never confirmed that people are actually alive until a certain inspirational person entered my life. I am becoming better at experiencing lively feelings from others, which is an experience exactly the same as how E. M Foster described in this section of the chapter. However, that dullness still remains in my mind, where defining feelings and experiencing feelings still require more coordination. This is evidently portrayed through “as he strolled about the courts at night and saw through the windows some men singing…” where Maurice is able to absorb himself in the atmosphere, but still at some distance. It really gives me a feeling of reminiscence.

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One thought on “May 15th IRJE: Maurice”

  1. Cecilia, your IRJE is a great example of how we can sometimes find connections and validation for our own experiences in literature when we cannot find them in the actual world around us. You might enjoy Toni Morrison’s first novel, “The Bluest Eye,” which raises similar issues in a very different context.

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