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Chapters 29-30

In these two chapters, we find Maurice tackling with his reactions to two events: news of Clive's engagement, and the visit of Dickie Barry, now a handsome young man.

Engagement ring by ladybugbkt on flickr, used under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No derivate works licence

News of Clive's engagement come in a letter from Mrs Durham to Mrs Hall, and Maurice has no time to rehearse his reaction as the exciting news are eagerly discussed at breakfast by the women of the house. He is hurt that Clive didn't write to him, but proud enough not to want to admit it to his mother and sisters. In ch29, he hears from Clive himself, about a week later, and gets the chance to speak to Anne on the phone. Neither of them can think of much to say and Anne reveals Maurice is the 8th friend of Clive she's spoken to that morning. Talk about adding insult to injury. But as the conversation with Clive that follows reveals, Maurice has reached the stage where he can engage in polite chit-chat with Clive.

Sunkissed by Arno Arno on flickr, used under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No derivate works licence

It might be worth asking if Maurice's reaction to the sleeping body of Dickie Barry in the morning sunlight would have been as strong as it is if it hadn't been for the news about Clive's engagement. But it's clear that for that day, he's head over the heels in lust. The moment when Dickie returns home late in the evening is not one of Maurice's best moments. It takes him a few days to admit to himself it was pure lust. There's also a French client of his who's very charming, but he takes a step back.

And it's finally the act of buying a wedding present for Clive and Anne that makes him see the contradiction between his outward appearance and behaviour conforming to social expectations and the desires bubbling underneath.

Where can he go from here?


  • What do you think of the Dickie Barry episode?

  • Is it cowardly of Clive not to write to Maurice himself about the engagement?

Photo credits:
Engagement ring by ladybugbkt on Flickr, used under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No derivate works licence
Sunkissed, Arno Arno on Flickr, used under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No derivate works licence

(no subject)

Date: 2009-07-19 07:29 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] into_the_greenwood
Cripes! That's a very nice picture you have there representing Dickie Barry. Goodness. *fans self*

Let's speak about Clive first. Yes, it's a cowardly thing to do, and totally unfeeling. For Anne to tell Maurice that he's the eight person contacted is a good thing, at least it lets Maurice know exactly where he stands with Clive because I'm perfectly sure that Clive would not have the guts to be honest even he were confronted by Maurice. He's constructed the ideal world in his head, and is working to get that world, and will not appreciate in the short term (or ever) the sacrifices he's had to make.

The Dickie Barry episode thankfully shows both us and Maurice of his real inclinations. That he can admit to himself, even if it is after a few days reflection, that it was purely lust that drove him to come on to Dickie then thankfully he is not lost to the world - unlike Clive. He goes on to recognise something similar in his dealings with the Frenchman.

I do wonder what would have happened had he actually done something physical with either of him. It seems that by this point an explosion of sexual feeling could be just what he needs. Although, those of us in the know can see that he gets the sex, combined with other things, with Alec that no one else could provide. Obviously with Dickie the sex would have been a bit problematic seeing as Dickie isn't that way inclined (although accepting of the possibility of it happening), but what about the Frenchman? How would Maurice have felt afterwards? Relief? Disgust? Would he have been capable of acting purely on a physical level with no regrets?

He's now stuck of course. Total self knowledge about who he is and what he wants, combined with knowing that the life he is living doesn't really belong to him. I think this must be a very difficult time for him because a lot of people get to this stage in life and are consequently unable to do much about it.

So, really, Maurice is lucky (though he can't appreciate it right now) that Clive has turned away from their love, has become engaged, put him eighth as a friend and consequently acts as a bit of a prat later when Maurice goes to Penge. You could say that Clive very helpfully facilitates the further of events in the book between Maurice and Alec.

Finally - that picture is HOT!

(no subject)

Date: 2009-07-19 08:12 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] into_the_greenwood
It's interesting to think about the matter of sex, because at the time of writing Forster was a virgin, and said later on that he might have changed things in the book had that not been the case. We can only speculate as to what those parts of the book would be, but I wonder if he might have allowed Maurice a bit more sexual freedom at this particular point. Hopefully not foisting himself on Dickie but the Frenchman, I agree, might have done him some good. Just to get a bit of release after being so restrained all those years. And i don't think that would have diluted what he experiences with Alec later on. he's had years of an emotional relationship, so what would be wrong with some sex, then the two combined perfectly in the one person.

I wondered about him separating love and sex, and felt I might be chanelling Laurie from The Charioteer a bit since he says he can't do anything unless he feels something for the person. Would that really be the case with Maurice? After all his recent restraint and inability to feel anything, I wonder if sex would help him to release a lot of the remaining tension. This may have made him more aware of Alec as a sexual being earlier on, though, and their scenes may have played out a bit differently. For instance, Maurice doesn't really know what he's doing when he calls from his window - if he'd already had a sexual relationship I think he may be a bit more aware.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-07-19 08:31 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] into_the_greenwood
I wonder if that might be something Forster would change - I wonder how much Forster's own feelings towards sex at that time influenced his writing of Maurice. I seem to recall from reading a biography that he believed himself to veer a bit towards asexuality, but later after he'd done the deed himself, he felt rather differently about it.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-07-30 11:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] angie-sylvie.livejournal.com
I really think if Maurice had slept with Dickie it would have been very harmful to him.
As it was, the Dickie episode "burst Maurice's life to pieces." I think, if they'd had sex, Maurice would immediately mistake it for a full-blown relationship - which Dickie would have been both unable and unwilling to supply.

"[Maurice's] whole life was dependent on love," said Forster. Any encounter with Dickie would have been so utterly devoid of love that it couldn't help but wound him.
Abandoned again, his self-loathing might have grown hugely, and given Maurice's predilection to threaten suicide when things go badly in love, a nasty and embarrassing scene could well have resulted.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-08-09 06:05 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] sandpipersummer
I agree doing anything with Dickie would have been totally wrong for Maurice on many levels. I'm not so sure about the Frenchman, who was interested in Maurice and wouldn't have been tolerating sex as Dickie had done.

However, since Maurice needed the love part of a relationship, yes it wouldn't have helped matters.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-07-19 10:08 pm (UTC)
sweet_fallacy: made by <lj user="amachete"> (Default)
From: [personal profile] sweet_fallacy
What do you think of the Dickie Barry episode?

I think the Dickie episode made him realize that lust alone isn't what he's after, but it's a desire of his nonetheless. I don't think he could go back to the same sort of relationship he had with Clive after this. Now that his more base desires have been reawakened, Maurice starts noticing other men and it begins to alarm him a little... as soon as his head comes back to him. (Funny how easily he fell back into old habits, neglecting his duties in favor of his love interest.) "The feeling that can impel a gentleman towards a person of lower class stands self-condemned." (Now that's a quote that's fun to decipher. Is he condemning those who disregard status to satiate their impure desires? The upper class who abusing their power over the less fortunate? Can Plato's ideal only be true between gentleman?)

And finally, Is it cowardly of Clive not to write to Maurice himself about the engagement?
Absolutely, but I also think that the marriage itself is an act of cowardice on Clive's part. And the eighth friend? Ouch. I understand Clive's motives, but nonetheless... ouch.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-07-21 08:11 am (UTC)
trueriver: (Maurice and Alec)
From: [personal profile] trueriver
It's a mighty relief to find Maurice has been able to move on from Clive after the crisis. My liking for him increases as he gains self knowledge. However, there is still that element of cringeing embarrassment at the situation he finds himself in with Dickie. And another huge relief that Dickie can contemplate it quietly and not expose Maurice at this crucial stage - phew!

Now it's Clive's turn to suffer the embarrassing situation of having Anne blurt out innocently about the eighth friend *giggles meanly*.

Once again, I love the pics chosen. Thank you very much! :)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-07-23 12:36 pm (UTC)
sweet_fallacy: made by <lj user="enherie"> (xH: Grr)
From: [personal profile] sweet_fallacy
I suppose Dickie was quite relieved Maurice didn't actually go beyond the hints... but I agree, as far as it goes, he takes it well

Damn it! If I end up writing a Dickie-centric fanfic, it'll be entirely your fault! *wags finger at [personal profile] trueriver and [personal profile] queen_ypolita*