The Motive for Metaphor: The Words of a Sentimentalist in The Good Soldier

in Ford Madox Ford’s The Good Soldier
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This paper argues that Dowell enjoys a curious talent for making even clear language opaque. Such opacity is not without significance in this densely patterned novel. Many readers have noted the exorbitance of Dowell’s figurative language, but few have actually considered the implications of such metaphoricity. Whether Dowell is the dupe or the deceiver of the novel remains always an insoluble riddle; yet what remains after these narrative convolutions is Ford’s peculiar treatment of language, what he observes in the explanatory letter to Stella Ford as the “tangle of references and cross-references.”

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