[personal profile] into_the_greenwood posting in [community profile] never_be_parted

After rereading these two chapters for the book discussion, I had to put down the book and go and make myself a cup of tea. The amount of stress Maurice is under at this point in his life is immense, and Forster seems to want to push this so that the reader just about feels as near to breaking point as Maurice.

On the train, Maurice unconsciously responds when an older man comes on to him. Immediately he is disgusted with himself and takes it out on his fellow passenger. By this point Maurice just wants the whole situation to go away; he despises the thought of giving in to his urges, yet is being consumed by what he considers to be inappropriate lust – for Dickie Barry, a boy at the Settlement, and now even a random man on the train to whom he is not even attracted. Totally without the calming influence of Clive's platonic friendship, which gave him some peace over the years, he is obsessed by thoughts of young men and sex.

In his desperation he seeks out Dr Barry who is as much help as he has ever been, yet Maurice is so desperate that he takes on board the doctor's 'advice' and thinks again about seeking out a woman to marry. This time the unfortunate female is Miss Tonks, with whom he attends a concert. Thankfully, Risley appears and through his talk of Tchaikovsky, Maurice is saved again from contemplating marriage too deeply. Instead, the chapter ends with his decision that the only way to still his urges is by hypnosis.

*In reading about Tchaikovsky and 'Bob' why does Maurice not see that it would be possible to have a relationship with another man? Does he believe at this point that he had his one chance with Clive and that is it? Despite reading about the composer and his nephew, he still wishes to be changed and not desire men any longer, but surely what everything thus far has taught him is that this is impossible.

*Maurice speaks of turning 'to the practices he had abandoned as a boy'. Does he mean masturbation? I thought so, and yet it seems extraordinary that he has managed to refrain from doing this, especially during the dry years of Clive, not to mention recent times when he thought almost non-stop about other men. What do you think about this self-restraint?
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