The Themes of Forster's Rescue
Forster uses the idea of Rescue as a continuous motif throughout the
book. It returns with different connotations in different situations.
For example, when Philip leaves to try and stop Lilia marrying an
Italian. This is the first of two rescue parties and is a physical
plan to rescue a character. However, Forster also uses the idea of
rescue through the development of Caroline and Philip's character.
Here "rescue" has connotations of conversion and being saved. These
two characters develop an emotional maturity am d knowledge of self
that allow them to belong to the category of the "saved". There are
also failures associated with these attempts of rescue. Philip failed
to prevent Lilia's marriage to the Italian and the rescue party that
departed to save the baby failed.
In order to examine why the rescue parties, dispatched from England,
failed in their original plan we should consider why these parties
assumed the right to determine the characters that need rescuing and
the right to rescue them. Mrs Herriton dispatched Philip "so Philip
was received with the news that he must start in half an hour for
Monteriano" Forster implies that it is Mrs Herriton's decision to send
a rescue party rather than Philip choosing to go and save Lilia. As
Mrs Herriton is Lilia's mother-in-law she has no real right to assume
this responsibility. However she does so and her reason, as she claims
is, "If Lilia marries him she insults the memory of Charles, she
insults Irma, she insults us. Therefore I forbid her and if she
disobeys we have done with her forever". This suggests that she is
protecting the memory of h...
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religious imagery and connotations to use. The conversion of Philip
and Caroline allows them to leave the baby with Gino and not feel
their visit was a failure.
However, Harriet and Mrs Herriton are not saved, rescued or converted.
They remain shallow characters throughout the novel. Harriet is used
as a contrast to Philip and Caroline's character development. This is
represented when she believes they can rescue the baby in two hours.
It is through Harriet and Mrs Herriton's pride and arrogance that the
second rescue mission fails. Harriet cannot leave Italy without the
baby as she perceives that to be a failure.
I believe the theme of rescue is a motif that runs throughout the
novel and shapes it into what it is. It is essential to the
understanding of the central characters, Philip and Caroline.