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It is driven by his will to understand, and twisted by his dread of doing so. He rambles and digresses, circles and dodges, only for the skittering surfaces to be suddenly stabbed through with an over-vivid image, an odd joke, a stark assertion. Ford originally named his novel "The Saddest Story" but his publisher, arguing that such gloom would not play well with the public in , asked for another title. Archly, sarcastically even, Ford proposed 'The Good Soldier'. He later regretted the change of title, and he was right to do so. The heavy-handed irony of the new name is a travesty of the delicate and devastating ironies of the story within.
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Motor racing. US sports. Rugby League. Geoffrey Macnab. Tech news. Tech culture. News videos. Explainer videos. Sport videos. Money transfers. Health insurance. Money Deals. I liked this book tremendously. Much more than I thought I was going to when I began it. Ford almost does magic, because he makes you shift your perspective and your view and your understanding of the characters until you have flipped your impressions on their heads, but he does it without making you feel cheated or misinformed.
And, so it is in life. We often form opinions on too little information. First impressions are often wrong. A small bit of information can make us see everything in a different light. And, placing blame is not always easy. Market Price. Served with a complimentary slice of stale pumpernickel and a glass of river water. I actually found the technique effective at making John Dowell an extremely likeable character, but at the same time it does completely strip away much of the oomph which should be imparted by any event that might be seen as pivotal or climactic: by page ten you already know the unfortunate outcome of the story, all that is left is to get the details, a difficult feat when your narrator has powers of perception trumped by those of an aardvark in a sensory deprivation tank.
It concerns his deceitful trollop wife, Florence, and the couple which they are best friends with, the well-shod Edward and Leonora Ashburnham. The foursome meet for the first time in Nauheim, Germany, at a spa reputed for their effectiveness in combating cardiac problems, which is required for the well being of Florence Dowell and Edward Ashburnham, and proceed to accompany each other for the next decade to Nauheim, outwardly portraying the ideal friendship of two affluent, successful, and loving couples. Little does anyone know that beneath this veneer, things are worse than can even be imagined, and interestingly enough, Captain Oblivious seems to be on the outside looking in as well, clueless as to what transpires after his nightly blackout from overindulgence of gin.
The couples share one very interesting aspect in their unions; it appears that neither has ever consummated their marriage. The reasons for this strange lack of passion are similar; Edward Ashburnham is an english Adonis whom women clamor for the attentions of, and he makes sure to perform the gentlemanly duty of never denying a lady, and Florence Dowell was unbeknownst to Captain Oblivious quite the tramp before John ever made her acquaintance.
The Good Soldier - Wikipedia
John, who has absolutely no clue as to what is going on, is under the belief that Flo has a heart condition, and that the act of lovemaking might potentially sound her death knell, thus the trips to Nauheim and other strange facets of her behavior, which all reek of subterfuge to the normal human. I understand that there is a lapse in the amount of time that has passed in the narration itself when John Dowell resumes to tell Part IV, and I interpreted this to be representative of his preoccupation with changes in his lifestyle most notably Ms.
Secondly, his continuous praise of Edward Ashburnham. But his praise was incessant, and left me wondering which of the Dowells Edward was actually buggering. As I was personally craving to hear it, it was a tremendous let down that it is completely left out of the story!! Or is it? Could this great confession be surreptitiously dispersed throughout the novel, and one could go back and reconstruct the gist of it themselves?
Or I suppose I could just be really baked. View 2 comments. Jul 10, K. Shelves: core , This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
- Julian Barnes on The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford | Books | The Guardian;
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He is found lying in the pool of his own blood at the entrance of his bakery. He has slit his throat with a sharp knife. Have you seen how a chicken is killed in the kitchen? The butcher or the cook does not fully decapitate the chicken right away. This blood in rice can be added to the viand later together with the rest of the chicken meat. The man, likened to the chicken, was the husband of my paternal grandfat He is found lying in the pool of his own blood at the entrance of his bakery. He killed himself because he found out that his wife was having an affair with their baker.
It remains as one of the biggest scandals in the history of our island-town unequaled even up to now. All those who lived during that time are already dead. I am not sure what went on during those years. As another example, in her lifetime, my paternal grandmother had 3 husbands. Maybe because of fear from war and chaos , they wanted to have a stronger assurance, through amorous illicit affairs, from somebody that their legal partners could not provide.
It is a story of two couples, 2 of them plus one of the mistresses die before the story ends. One American couple, John Dowell, the narrator and his wife for nine years, Florence goes to Europe because Florence wants to live there.. Their marriage cannot be consummated because Florence has a heart problem which later gets divulged to be untrue as she is having an affair with Jimmy the cabin boy. I will not spoil it by telling you the complete plot.
Suffice it to say that the way Ford made their lives interwoven is so disturbing that it made me recall the stories from generations past of my own lineage. Does infidelity run in my blood? I hope not. I am rating with 3 stars for two reasons: 1 I understand that the narrator wants himself to be just an observer and he shows indifference to the story. For example, when asked the question how does it "feel to be a deceived husband? It just feels nothing at all. There is not a single war scene in this book. This is about passion, adultery, deception, murder, suicide, etc.
The rambling-like narration is understandable because John Dowell is part of the story and telling everything once again should be painful for him. Thus the sporadic and fragmentary recall of the incidents is justifiable and for me, makes the story more interesting as far as form is concerned. The Good Soldier is so heartbreakingly beautiful. I wonder if I have ever felt so conflicted when a book came to an end, on the one hand I didn't want the experience to end - I unearthed gems on every page, gems of solemnity, disappointment, angst, and insight; on the other, each page filled me with renewed heartbreak.
The "saddest story" is about two couples, the upright up-class English Ashburnhams Edward the eponymous, ironic "good soldier" and Leonora and the American Dowells John our The Good Soldier is so heartbreakingly beautiful. The "saddest story" is about two couples, the upright up-class English Ashburnhams Edward the eponymous, ironic "good soldier" and Leonora and the American Dowells John our tragically naive or self-deceptive narrator , and Florence. Th Good Soldier is "about" two couple's disintegration, poisoned by infidelity and deception; but more deeply than that it is about the impotence of the human condition represented in the specific and literal impotence of John Dowell.
This book finishes where it begins, and the whole distillation of it can be summed up best as by John Dowell: It is a queer and fantastic world. The things were all there to content everybody; yet everybody has got the wrong thing. Is there any terrestrial paradise where, amidst the whispering of the olive-leaves, people can be with whom they like and have what they like and take their ease in shadows and in coolness?
That's really the pivotal question of all literature, of everything it means to be human. Everyone wants something, someone, but can't have everything they want - and if they get everything they want, it lacks novelty and then they want novelty above all else. Because we're human, we want what we don't have, and oftenest what we can't have. Dowell's allusion to the "terrestrial paradise" - to Adam and Eve's paradise - is perfect, poignant.
We give up perfection for something that is flawed but forbidden. Since it is unknown to us we cannot know it's flaws, know it's true consequences, until we break with what we have and try it. But what if to try it is to lose everything? This struggle, this self-burning passion for "something other than what we have" is elucidated by Proust, who compares our longing to "an idle harp, [which] wants to resonate under some hand, even a rough one, and even if it might be broken by it.
So many eternal novels revolve on the axis of infidelity, and we read them, and we love them, we feel that we relate to them even when we are models of fidelity. As a society we relate to these marital transgressions because we know what it's like to feel both content and dissatisfied with what we have.
We don't really want to be satisfied, we want to be surfeit, and we feel that we can never know if that over-fullness of joy is possible unless we take impossible chances, risk losing everything. But few of us are really willing to risk everything if we don't have to. We feel that by discretion or mock devotion we can keep what we have while we seek what we want - and this is the Janus-faced desire at the heart of The Good Soldier. The character of Edward Ashburnam is the complete essence of this desire though it is apparent in the four main characters , his transgressions are not about sex, nor necessarily about "love" - but about a romantic vision of what love should be , which is often defined by what he doesn't have with Leonora.
Whether it is with Nancy or Florence, or any of his other mistresses, he is endlessly looking for something, but never knows what it is. But despite his errant heart, it never is willing to stray completely from Leonora. Even though she is cold to him, and grows colder, some part of him loves her to the state of devotion, of, ultimately, sacrifice of that desire and of his life. Leonora wants nothing more than her husband's love, but she will never let herself have it.
As a result at first of stifling convention of her upbringing, and her own insecurities, she cannot bring herself to give herself up to Edward. As they grow older and he strays from her, her love for him become a love only of possession and control - she controls him by forgiving him, but by inwardly hating her own forgiveness. Edward knows that he has harmed his wife, that he has made her cold to him, and his own compunction keeps him from breaking with her completely. Leonora, who has almost perfect knowledge of the melodrama happenings in the novel, perhaps wishes most, unconsciously, to have the naivete of John Dowell.
Her diligent, but mirthless, hunt for knowledge, is self-immolating. She convinces herself of Edwards guilt and persecutes him with her coldness, but in doing so makes attainment of his love impossible. Her problem parallel's John's, though her knowledge makes her marriage impossible to enjoy: "If for nine years I have possessed a goodly apple that is rotten at the core and discover its rottenness only in nine years and six months less four days, isn't it true to say that for nine years I possessed a goodly apple?
Florence is, perhaps, the most difficult character to understand. At turns she is portrayed by her husband-cuckold-narrator in terms of pre-disillusionment idealism, and post-disillusionment vitriol; paragon of demur innocence, and reviled harlot. In some ways I think she risks everything when she marries Dowell, and then regrets it, and her's is the story of trying to escape her own choices. On the surface, she may be literally seeking sexual satisfaction, which her impotent husband cannot offer her, but I suspect her problem is not so simple.
I don't think I believe that she ever really loved Dowell, but I also don't believe that she ever loved Edward either - I think that she doesn't know what love is, and perhaps equates it with some amalgam of sex and romance - two things which the painter and Edward both fulfill her with. But love has to have some element of spiritual, passionate devotion, something that is adds value to the Self and adds value to the Other - something like looking though a window at the one you love, but seeing also your reflection in the glass.
Florence can only see through the medium, she can only picture the value of the other, as something which has a set price, and which she can shop for, she never receives anything in her extra-marital exchanges, at least nothing like what Dowell is willing to offer her - everything he has, everything he can be. And she throws it away, and sometimes we all do that. We throw away something either because we see something better, or maybe we throw it away by accident, by forgetfulness. Despite the difficulties, the heartbreak, despite the cruel ironies and bitter inconsistencies of the Ashburnams primarily and the Dowells secondarily , this is a truly beautiful novel - a testament that all human emotion, even pain, has beauty.
What struck me most was John Dowell as the narrator, his constant back-and-forth dance in time, the strange significance on coincidence and the date of August 2, when many of the novel's events take place, though years apart, made me question his mental faculties. Health is so recurring a motif in the novel, the weak "hearts" of Florence and Edward, the sanatorium in Nauheim where they meet, the confused illness of Florence's family, etc. But we never hear about how the psyche of Dowell survived the self-styled saddest story, at least not directly.
This novel, which I love, which is perhaps one of my favorites for ever, owes its complete brilliance of emotion, splendor of style, and so forth, to it's narrator - the wonderfully crafted and contradicted and confused John Dowell. I was lulled and enchanted by his solemn insightfulness, his somber story-telling, his impotent view of the human condition. I love Dowell. He is naive, he is imperfect and flawed, he self-deceives and is too-quick to trust those who deceive him - but that's so human, and I sympathize with him at the same time as I criticize his human foolishness.
Nov 21, knig rated it really liked it Shelves: whatthe-hell , , artimitateslife. Edward was a soldier, for a spell. Edward of the nefarious quadratic epicentre where, after the music stopped everyone sat on the wrong chair. And did said John ever consummate his twelve year marriage to Florence? So it might shed some light as to why Leonora and Edward had no issue, but later on, give her a wink and a nod in the haystack with Rodney Bayham and hey presto, the buns in the oven.
So thats the infamous quartet: Leonora and Edward, John and Florence. Well, thats understandable. Its either one or the other. Mutually exclusive sort of thing. So it goes. Because he is a Malesub. He likes to Man Friday it about. What does he do then? Move on to nursing a Nancy. Who has a brain like a swiss cheese, but is femmedom between the lines. Of his brain.
The rest? Trapped like a hare in headlights. Nowhere to go. Imprisoned within the confines of their own minds: minds which create worlds and prisons and mores to bind and break: just like the proverbial story of the elephant who was chained for so long to a tree, that when he was finally let loose he never strayed from that tree til he died: he had, effectively, become his own judge, jury and executor. But prolly necessary. Sheesh, let me not forget how FMX fucks fiddles fuck time.
But FMX, he is a time line Titan. Jul 27, Shane rated it it was ok. This is indeed a sad story, where no one gets what they want. Based on a true story and revolving around two couples, one English the other American, and narrated by the American husband, this novel is told in an experimental style. When I mean told, there is very little dialogue and most of the incidents come out in dribs and drabs, out of sequence, and from a rather unreliable narrator who constantly contradicts his statements.
The narrator goes over old ground frequently, mostly trying to reco This is indeed a sad story, where no one gets what they want. The narrator goes over old ground frequently, mostly trying to reconcile events in his own head, expanding on an already recounted incident or reversing it. A jumbled picture emerges, both of the characters and the storyline. The plot is thin: the English wife is frigid and the American wife has a weak heart. Consequently both marriages have not been consummated.
The American husband is rich, has never worked in his life, is a bit of a dullard yet is content to protect his fragile wife and her health. However, the American wife and the English husband are having an affair and cheating on their partners in the meantime. All are well meaning individuals and are bound by the conventions of their cultural and social standing. It does not require much imagination to figure out the tragic ending. I suppose the author was experimenting with a new style and he achieves it with this novel, for it takes concentration to read and unravel the various story threads from the messy tangle in which they are presented.
Is it a style I prefer? Lawrence, he never achieved the recognition he was due. Experimental forms are always going to take place, but to be successful they need to strike a chord with readers. This book unfortunately did not strike any with me. I beg to differ. View all 4 comments. May 02, Victoria Young rated it liked it Shelves: modern-library , mystery. The Good Soldier is an amazing feat of plot construction. This is the best example of how an unreliable narrator John Dowell and fragmentary plot can be used to reveal intricacies of character that could never be as effectively expressed through simple description.
Not only is this brilliantly done, but I was amazed to realise how early a piece of modernist work The Good Soldier is- published in It must have created quite a stir when it was published as its main interest is the destructi The Good Soldier is an amazing feat of plot construction. It must have created quite a stir when it was published as its main interest is the destructive potential of manipulation and infidelity.
It's definitely not a book you should pick up if you're looking for a quick, easy read. The narrator's constant unconscious revisions of plot and characterisation had me flicking back and forth quite a bit and I'll probably need to reread in order to properly digest the complicated tangle of relationships. But the pay off for your hard work is a really thorough examination of the protagonist's psyche and cognitive dissonance.
In a paradoxical way, Ford makes his narrative and characteristion wholly unclear in order that Dowell's state of mind be more fully revealed. When I was starting the book, I was quite annoyed because it seemed like the Dowell had given the game away and spoiled the ending by jumping too far forward in time.
However- be not disheartened! I imagine this book would have been very scandalous for its time. Among novels, American Psycho comes to mind as a possible least-favorite and The Good Soldier as a certain favorite. It would be too much to call any of these characters "evil" but as you ponder who among the morally vacuous cast is the "worst", you'll discover that your gaze turns inward, which is Ford's real achievement here.
I read Parades End last year and really enjoyed it, Rather expected this to be in a similar vein so was a bit taken aback on reading. Strangely enough it's not a war story but is about an American and English couple whose lives entwine over nine seasons in the early 's. I didn't mind so much the unreliable narrator Dowell as it happens, but I did have some trouble accepting his naivety towards his wife Florence.
A story of unhappy, destructive, obtuse people who are tied to each other by reli I read Parades End last year and really enjoyed it, Rather expected this to be in a similar vein so was a bit taken aback on reading. A story of unhappy, destructive, obtuse people who are tied to each other by religion, appearance and the society they inhabit.
I didn't like the characters on offer here but they were strangely magnetic in their own twisted perverse way. Well written, strangely mesmerising. Some questions arise when reading The Good Soldier. Is it an impressionistic masterpiece? Is it a tragedy or a comedy? Published in , from the pen of Ford Madox Ford, it is unique enough to have been described by its critics as all of the preceding and more. Subtitled "A Tale of Passion", it is unique both in my experience and within the author's total work.
The story is narrated by an American, John Dowell, who invites the reader to sit down with him beside the fire of his study to listen t Some questions arise when reading The Good Soldier. The story is narrated by an American, John Dowell, who invites the reader to sit down with him beside the fire of his study to listen to the "saddest story" he has ever known.
Set during the decade preceding the Great War, the story, while appearing to be sad for some of the participants, is truly sad only in the ironic sense of the word. Thus we encounter one of the themes of the book--the distinction between appearance and reality. The characters are not particularly likable or sympathetic. Considering that, it is counter intuitive, but the reader is spurred on to read the novel by the precision and the beauty of the prose and the intrigue within the story.
The narrative unfolds in a mosaic-like way with a traversal of the narrator's memory back and forth over the nine year period that is covered. The mosaic is interlaced by motifs including the importance of the date: August 4, and the apparent existence of a heart condition in some of the character's lives.
I mentioned the narrator's memory, but one experiences a growing realization that the narrator is inherently unreliable; perhaps John Dowell is the most unreliable narrator in literary history--so much so that I cannot help but think that Ford may have been influenced by Leo Tolstoy's philosophy of history. When complete, the tale is ended perfectly much as it begins. The result is a beautiful small novel that ranks high in this reader's experience. When a book improves with each rereading some call it great or a classic. My personal term is transcendent, as the books for which I have experienced this effect embody transcendence on one or more levels of reading.
The Good Soldier is one such book for me. Apr 21, Brian rated it really liked it. Reading Hemingway's A Moveable Feast brought me back to Ford, an author whose most well known piece of fiction has been on my perpetual "to read" list. Hemingway's less than flattering portrayal of Ford was the tipping point, and I finally decided to read this novel while Papa's well depicted portrait of Ford was fresh in my head.
After the first 50 pages I was convinced that I had read this story. Tropes tried-and-true seemed to drip from the pages; I found myself sighing and noting frequently h Reading Hemingway's A Moveable Feast brought me back to Ford, an author whose most well known piece of fiction has been on my perpetual "to read" list. Tropes tried-and-true seemed to drip from the pages; I found myself sighing and noting frequently how much of the book I had left. But then things changed. And the narrative took a completely different course; characters that were paint-by-number a chapter ago suddenly bloomed in unexpected ways.
Ford had me on the rod for the sucker I was, and when he pulled the line, the hook set and the next pages were amazing. But there came a point in the story, and I don't want to even talk about the action of the book for fear of giving away ANYTHING - there came a point where I just wished that the book had ended. Like The Sheltering Sky , I felt that I had experienced the penultimate part of the narrative somewhere way before the ending, and was shocked that there was more to read. Had the novel ended at that "Part", and if you read - or have read - this book, you'll know of what I speak, this book would have been 5-stars without a doubt.
In any event, I can still recommend it without hesitation and understand more fully why it is considered a literary classic. Despite Hemingway's comments about Ford's halitosis and annoying habits Jul 25, Jan-Maat added it Shelves: british-isles , novel , 20th-century. Tale of the breakdown of relationships that I read roundabout the age of seventeen. What I found remarkable was the narrative style that cleverly pulls your sympathies from one character to another.
Very effective piece of writing.
Ford Madox Ford was an admired but commercially unsuccessful writer and much of his work is sadly out of print, worth hunting down though. View all 6 comments. Jul 17, David rated it it was ok Shelves: read-in , hideously-vile-protagonists , disappointing. The evidence that I am a complete Philistine continues to accumulate, as yet another acknowledged classic sails right over my head. I did not like "The Good Soldier", for various reasons.
Here are a few: The plot was an awkward mixture of implausible contrivance and overwrought melodrama, and seemed fundamentally not credible, from start to finish. The basic setup Serial philanderer Edward cheats on controlling Leonora and cavorts with Florence, the slutty wife of the book's narrator John was The evidence that I am a complete Philistine continues to accumulate, as yet another acknowledged classic sails right over my head. The basic setup Serial philanderer Edward cheats on controlling Leonora and cavorts with Florence, the slutty wife of the book's narrator John was OK - this kind of love quadrangle is hardly unusual.
But the way the plot unfolds from the basic premise seemed ludicrous, even allowing for the fact that the account of events is being delivered as the recollections of possibly one of the most unreliable narrators in all of 20th century fiction. The plot was little more than a series of random, largely implausible events, lurching from one improbable crisis to the next.
Prussic acid capsules in the vanity case? Suicide by penknife? Telegram-induced catatonia? Give me a break. The silliness of the plot had a lot to do with the complete lack of depth of the protagonists. You never get the feeling that any of these characters are real people, so their weird antics never seem like anything other than the jerky behavior of cartoonish puppets.
Though most puppets have more character than these annoying stick figures. The most annoying of the stick figures being, hands down, the idiot narrator, John Dowell. A man allegedly so stupid that he doesn't notice his wife is cuckolding him with his best friend and hero for 8 years. Or that her "heart condition" is pure invention and that she's healthy as a horse. Who is apparently the only person on the planet unaware that she committed suicide by ingesting prussic acid.
There was an enormous sense of relief upon finishing the book, because at least one didn't have to suffer the idiocies of the obtuse narrator any longer. Dowell wasn't just idiotic; he was also completely without charm, probably a virgin, and likely a closet case My final objection to the book was the profusion of passages like this one: And, proud and happy in the thought that Edward loved her, and that she loved him, she did not even listen to what Leonora said.
It appeared to her that it was Leonora's business to save her husband's body; she, Nancy, possessed his soul--a precious thing that she would shield and bear away up in her arms--as if Leonora were a hungry dog, trying to spring up at a lamb that she was carrying. Yes, she felt as if Edward's love were a precious lamb that she were bearing away from a cruel and predatory beast. For, at that time, Leonora appeared to her as a cruel and predatory beast. Leonora, Leonora with her hunger, with her cruelty had driven Edward to madness.
He must be sheltered by his love for her and by her love--her love from a great distance and unspoken, enveloping him, surrounding him, upholding him; by her voice speaking from Glasgow, saying that she loved, that she adored, that she passed no moment without longing, loving, quivering at the thought of him. Between this book and "Mr Peanut", it's been a bad month for marriage. But at least "Mr Peanut" was interesting. For me, "The Good Soldier" was kind of a snooze. I have, I am aware, told this story in a very rambling way so that it may be difficult for anyone to find their path through what may be a sort of maze.
I cannot help it. I have stuck to my idea of being in a country cottage with a silent listener, hearing between the gusts of the wind and amidst the noises of the distant sea, the story as it comes. And, when one discusses an affair—a long, sad affair—one goes back, one goes forward. One remembers points that one has forgotten and one explains t I have, I am aware, told this story in a very rambling way so that it may be difficult for anyone to find their path through what may be a sort of maze.
One remembers points that one has forgotten and one explains them all the more minutely since one recognises that one has forgotten to mention them in their proper places and that one may have given, by omitting them, a false impression. I console myself with thinking that this is a real story and that, after all, real stories are probably told best in the way a person telling a story would tell them. They will then seem most real. May 11, classic reverie rated it it was amazing Shelves: tragedy , , english-writer , ford-madox-ford. You would think this story had something to do with the war since it was written in but it takes place from until One of the characters is a soldier but many characters were trying to be "good soldiers" in their life.
When the book starts out the narrator, John Dowell, describes the events that took place over a span of 9 years.
The Good Soldier: A Tale of Passion (Oxford World's Classics)
A very deep look into the psychological side of humans. Here we have, without a doubt, the germ of the very best of John Hawkes, who is, without a doubt, one of the very best. Just devastating, terrifically devastating, and, horrifically, crushingly, even-toned Jun 07, Nathan "N. Yes definitely one to read again. View 1 comment. Aug 13, Bloodorange rated it liked it Shelves: edwardian , audiobooks , uk. I liked it. To be precise, up to two-thirds; after that, the subject matter, the narrator for it is largely a retrospective, first-person narrative by a middle-aged white male , and the style increasingly exalted - think schoolgirls, not nobility began to tire me.
I think it was partly because I started to dislike the narrator and his manner of self-presentation; what made the first two-thirds of the book enjoyable for me was waiting for some sign that he is, in fact, unreliable - it I liked it. I think it was partly because I started to dislike the narrator and his manner of self-presentation; what made the first two-thirds of the book enjoyable for me was waiting for some sign that he is, in fact, unreliable - it was hard for me to accept his cluelessness, which he, in turn, explains by his religion - he repeatedly identifies himself as a "Philadelphia Quaker.
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Sep 26, Lostinanovel rated it did not like it. Embarrassed to say that I somehow missed this one. I know it is highly acclaimed and my fellow readers here seem to love it, but i must be missing something. The narrator is frustratingly stupid and naive and the good soldier is simply a bastard. Social constructs doomed the characters but their adherence to society's rules borders on foolishness, particularly when they clearly dont really care for these rules. The point of view aspect is intersting and I wonder if I didnt miss something there.