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Ford Madox Fordís novel The Good Soldier focuses on two married couples who befriend each other and engage in a nine-year companionship. It is written from the perspective of a man named John Dowell, one of the two husbands. He and his wife, Florence, meet Edward and Leonora Ashburnham while vacationing in Germany. The meeting of these four people initiates a series of destructive events that changes the lives of all those involved. While the story depicts a complex tale of multiple relationships and deceit, one central theme is explored: morality. Throughout the novel, the narratorís perception of the world around him is debated and he comes to his own conclusions about human behavior.
The question of morality is presented in terms of marriage; the rampant adultery that takes place among the characters (specifically between Edward and Florence) is the main source of conflict and discussion in the book. On several occasions, Dowell finds himself deliberating on the depraved actions of those around him as well as their implications. This is eloquently depicted in the lines, ďAnd there is nothing to guide us. And if everything is so nebulous about a matter so elementary as the morals of sex, what is there to guide us in the more subtle morality of all other personal contacts, associations, and activities? Or are we meant to act on impulse alone?Ē Such concepts can be associated with the modernist habits of social commentary and intellectual uncertainty. From the beginning, th...