The Good Soldier

The Good Soldier as a Modernist Work College

During the Modern period, writers were concerned with discarding Victorian literary traditions, addressing new topics and using new forms. Many of them had become disillusioned by the devastation of the First World War, and they were fed up with the hypocrisy of Victorian society. People’s way of looking at themselves and society had changed; they wanted to address the issues that Victorians had ignored, and begin to ameliorate society. Ford Madox Ford’s The Good Soldier exemplifies the ways that content and form of Modernist literature differ from that of Victorian times.

The Good Soldier’s content exemplifies key themes of the Modernist novel. First, Ford presents a series of loveless marriages and affairs. To the Victorians, marriage was sacred; it was supposed to consist of unconditional love and constancy. When Florence dies, Dowell has “no sorrow, no desire for action, no inclination to go upstairs and fall upon the body of [his] wife (128).” Their marriage had been full of secrets, from Florence’s affairs, to her lack of heart problems, and the poison she kept with her, calling it medicine. Theirs was not the typical honest Victorian marriage. The marriage of the Ashburnhams was no better: “Edward did not love Leonora and...

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