The Good Soldier

Expressionistic Themes in The Good Soldier College

According to Murray Baumgarten, “the narrator of the expressionist novel no longer worries about the ‘real’ world (422).” Instead, the narrator of the expressionist novel is concerned with the creation of a new, almost illusionary, and composite world where the creator, in this case, Ford’s John Dowell, has authority to view the world, or tell his story, from the perspective of his own unique and personal experience. As Dowell is in the position of power in terms of the relationship between the narrator and his audience, the audience is forced to succumb to the expressionist idea that the inner workings of the narrator’s mind influence and continue to exist in the workings of what is deemed to be the “real” world in the novel. In other words, Dowell’s “silent listener” does not receive a universal account of the sad story presented in the novel (Ford 120). On the contrary, the audience receives an account that is entirely dependent on the unique perspective of the narrator and how his personality shapes his reactions to the events that occur throughout the story. Analyzing Ford’s The Good Soldier through the perspective of expressionism, Dowell’s narrative is a piece that emphasizes the collision of the “real” world, a world...

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