The Other Side of the Hedge
The Other Side of the Hedge is a powerfully symbolic essay, sometimes allegorical while other times more direct. Forster invokes images of nature and its stages throughout the tale. Images such as the "brown crackling hedges" and "hillsclean, bare buttresses, with beech trees in their folds." Forster pairs his imagery of nature against "objects" like the narrator's pedometer that seem useless and actually stop functioning after the journey through the hedge. The essay can be better analyzed when broken down into segments.
Firstly, the story opens with the narrator on a dusty, never-ending road surrounded by "brown crackling hedges" on both sides. On the road, the narrator encounters many people including and educationist that, when the narrator had stopped to break, urged him to press forward. However, feeling apathetic and drained, the narrator cannot muster the energy to continue and thus collapses. It is only the sight of the hedge that breathes life into him and gives him desire to pass through.
Forster intends the never-ending road and hedge to represent mortal life. The author's view on the purposelessness of life and on the ultimate futility of goals is extremely evident. For instance, the educationist's attempt to drive the narrator into action fails. Additionally, the view of life from the dirt road is bleak, brown, and fruitless. There exists an illusion of progress whether scientific, political, or economic that engulfs the travelers. Even the pursuit of the educationist is awash in a sense of blindness. The narrator tired of the never ending journey, gives up. Only the sight of the hedge enables him to continue; only the hope of dieing enables him to continue. This unsettling image of the hedge as a boundary between mortality and the afterlife further suggests Forster's conviction that one's true hope is death.
Once the narrator passes through the hedge and the...
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