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

Here we are, arrived at the penultimate chapter discussion. Chapters 43 and 44 deal with Maurice and Alec as they meet in London to talk about Alec's letters and the supposed threat behind them. The chapters open with Alec waiting for Maurice outside the British Museum, and here we discover something more about him, and his view of the world. He wants to stay in the woods, but to 'get on' must leave the country. Maurice at this point has reached the stage where he is open to anything happening, and he no longer worries or panics, resulting in him being able to see through what is happening on the surface and make sense of what Alec is really saying behind all the pride and bluster.

Part of their conversation takes place by the Assyrian Bulls, artefacts which originally would have formed part of a gateway. In Assyria half animal-half man statues were built in gateways in order to guard and protect those who went through. It's surely no coincidence that Forster had the two men walking between the figures. It's in the presence of these massive figures that they smile at each other, transcending whatever argument Alec is trying to make, and that Maurice is sidestepping.

When they meet Mr Ducie, Maurice takes complete hold of the situation by discarding his own name and taking Alec's, leaving Alec rather high and dry in his determination to make Maurice 'pay' for humiliating him, now that he realises that wasn't the case. By the end of the chapter, after having said everything that is on their minds about the situation, they both realise they are in love and Alec suggests they spend the night together.

Now the way is clear to Maurice; Alec must stay in England, Maurice will give up his home and job and they will be together. But Alec, the voice of harsh reason, dashes Maurice's hopes and leaves him anguished and alone in the hotel room. Maurice may well have gained insight, have realised Alec is 'the friend', or the beloved, but he has been deserted nevertheless. To attempt a positive note, at least he knows Alec loves him, and that he is as upset with having to part as Maurice himself is. But it's still raining and love has failed.

Some questions and ideas:

*Maurice appears to have some major enlightenments in this chapter; what do you think about that

*There seems to be a difference between the ending of this relationship and the ending of things with Clive. Does the respective honesty of all the men concerned have anything to do with this, do you think?

*What do you think about Alec knowing of a place they can stay the night?

*If this was the first time you had read the book, what do you think would be your opinion of how the last couple of chapters were going to end it?
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