English Seminar Capstone Research Papers

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Capstone Project

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Upon being informed that a piece of his posthumously published homoerotic literature was being used as a device for reigniting a productive dialogue of love between the gay and the Evangelical Christian, E.M. Forster would assuredly bristle with skepticism and doubt, if not outright disgust. Readers and critics who have reserved an iconic position for Forster in the chronology of gay liberation literature would likely evince a similar knee-jerk reaction. Admittedly, the writer's lifelong tendency to chafe uneasily against what he most often depicted as a doctrine of hypocrisy appears to be an obstacle which precludes utilizing his text The Life to Come as an instructional on breathing fresh air into the relationship between faith and homosexuality. In the face of this considerable set of roadblocks, however, one would be wise to recall the carefully optimistic desire to "only connect," a hope posited in the author's novel Howard's End which has now become his defining credo. Forster's bibliography is essentially a meatgrinder running interpersonal connection through its jaws, yet the author could never dismiss human communication's foremost position in his ideology. It was the most direct avenue to love, an area of unlimited potential. The Life to Come, a messy tale on a constant downward spiral, fails to arrive at such a plateau. In fact, the narrative expends its last gasp of energy toppling the emotion. Reading the short story against a collection of theoretical voices highlighted by Terry Eagleton, Mikhail Bakhtin, and Madeline L'Engle, The Life to Come's weeds of disintegration may be identified and uprooted. Consequently, praxis for Evangelical Christian action that both honors Forster's reverence for human connection and addresses the present day conflict between faith and homosexuality may be planted.


Forster, The Life to Come

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