Because of Forster’s open use of homosexuality, his choice of a main character is especially important for this book’s success. Forster deliberately avoids the sensitive, cultured intellectuals of King’s and Trinity colleges. Maurice Hall, instead, is a very ordinary boy with a rather second-rate mind, especially during his school and university days. He knows almost nothing about serious art and music. He loves his family and is complacent about following his father’s path in business and society. It is not until after Clive Durham speaks openly of his own feelings that Maurice even suspects that he might have homosexual inclinations. Indeed, he thinks very little unless challenged by Clive or his own experiences. Maurice discovers that even a short vacation at home returns his mind to its usual stagnant muddle. In creating this main character, Forster attempts to emphasize an Everyman quality about Maurice’s conflict.
By the conclusion, Maurice Hall’s education has produced a very different person: A successful broker, possessed of the self-knowledge he has so painfully gained, Maurice can act with courage and clarity of mind to preserve his happiness. He instinctively recognizes and seizes the truth and beauty of his new relationship with Alec when he experiences it. Still, Forster’s narrator spends too much time describing how Maurice feels rather than letting Maurice’s actions or words reveal him. The result is that the reader never...
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