The Good Soldier

by: Ford Madox Ford

The Aurthor

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Ford Madox Ford was born in December 1873 and died in June of 1939. His real name was Ford Hermann Hueffer but he changed it in 1919 in honour of his grandfather. He was a famous English novelist,poet,critic, and editor of journals. He enlisted into a regiment and was sent to France for awhile. His combat experiances helped him write what he did.The Good Soldier was one of his most famous works.

Setting & Point of View

The story takes place just before World War One.The story is told from John Dowell's point of view.It is also told from a series of flashbacks and some of the events that are told do not happen in chronological order.

Connecticut, India, England.

Characters

John Dowell-narrator of the novel. He guides the reader through the story.


Florence Dowell-the wife of John. She is manipulative and unfaithful. She used John for his money and has an affair with someone else.


Edward Ashburnham- married but falls in love with women he meets. He is a somewhat hopeless man.


Leonora Ashburnham-married to Edward and tries to control him because he is always trying to get other women.


La Dolciquita-a spanish dancer.First affair with Edward.She wants his money. Edward doesnt see this and become attached to her.


Maisie Maidan- Young,pretty woman who was third affair of Edward. She has a heart defect and it kills her later when she tries to get away from Edward.

The Story

It starts off by John Dowell talking to the reader. The story is about he and his wife's aquaintance with another couple. The other couple was Edward and Leonora Ashburnham. The story is told from what John sees and thinks therefore the plot shifts from past events and John's current interpretations of them. The story is divided into four parts. In the first part, Dowell gives the reader background of the protagonists in the story. He and his wife Florence, and Edward and Leonora. Edward is described as honest and someone you could trust with your wife. As the part goes on, Leonora starts to see that Florence and Edward are getting close and an affair between them is probable, but John is blind to this whole situation. Edward has been having many affairs with different women. After Edward was with La Dolciquita the Ashburnhams were in great debt. Leonora took charge and controlled all his money and land.It is later revealed that the affair between Florence and Edward is true. In the second part it flashes back to when Florence and John first meet. Florence and John's marriage was actually forced upon them by Florence's family.It is also discovered that Florence had an affair with a guy named Jimmy early on in their marriage. Florene plans to divorce John and marry Edward, but one night Florence spotted Edward in a park with this woman named Nancy. She ran back to the hotel to find out John was told about her affair long ago with Jimmy.In the end of the second part it is revealed that Florence killed herself by poisoning her body. In the third part it starts off by telling the reader that John is considering marriage to the woman Nancy. The problem is that Edward too loves her. Dowell narrates the marriage of Leonora and Edward, showing how much Leonora stayed by Edward's side. But once he had an affair with Florence, the love wasn't the same anymore. In the fourth part, Leonora has a breakdown and expresses all her feelings to Nancy. She tells her how awful Edward is to her. This makes Nancy not like him anymore. Edward was fed up with Nancy because she didn't want him, so he sent her to India. Nancy sent him a telegram thanking him and saying how much fun she was having. This hurt him greatly. He was so upset he killed himself by stabbing himeslf with a penknife. After, Leonora marries a normal, good guy and they have a child. Dowell buys Branshaw Manor,Edward's old land, and lives with Nancy.

Theme

Difference between Appearance and reality-


Dowell thinks that Edward is a "Good Soldier" in the begining to find out that he wasn't. Also the same could be said for Florence.

Conflicts

There were many conflicts with the love that was going around.

Edward having many affairs.

Florence getting overly jealous.

Edward and Florence committing suicide.


My Remarks

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I would not reccomend this novel. The way that the plot jumped around was confusing. I also don't like stories about love. It was somewhat boring and I lost interest in it a few times. The death of Edward was predictable. I liked the way that it was told through one person's perspective, so that whatever the narrator says is believed by the reader. Therefore if the narrator is wrong then everything in the story gets thrown off and it keeps the reader on their toes to what is going to happen next.