The Good Soldier Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. Describe the point of view from which The Good Soldier is written.

The Good Soldier is written in the first person. It is narrated from John Dowell's point of view. Unlike a third-person, omnipotent narration, John's narration is unreliable. John's vision of his own story is skewed by his motivations and emotions, by the fallible nature of his memory, and by his failure to tell the story in chronological order. John's unreliability as a narrator is made even more apparent by his necessity to make a distinction between John-the-narrator and the John-in-the-story. In all, the "truth" behind The Good Soldier is subject to human memory, emotion, and error.

2. After reflecting upon the events of his life, how does John Dowell feel about marriage?

John has lost all faith in the institution of marriage. In Part 1, Chapter 1, he compares marriage to both a rotten apple and a prison, and believes that marriage has left him as destroyed and helpless as a citizen of war-torn Rome.

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