The first novel written by E. M. Forster entitled Where Angels Fear to Tread (1905) revolves around two distinctive cultures and societies. Forster deliberately juxtaposes the characters both from Sawston, England, and Monteriano, Italy to expose the effect of unfamiliar settings and values on the spirituality of the human being. Accordingly, the aim of this study is to examine the perceptions and manner of female and male characters to the established cultural norms and societal codes of the Edwardian society through the lenses of Emanuel Levinas’s “ethical relatedness” and Derek Layder’s “uncontrollable desire” besides the perspectives of many other scholars. This study attempts, on the one hand, to explore Levinasian “ethical relatedness” with its concepts such as “sensibility”, “subjectivity” and “proximity”, on the other, discovers Layderian “uncontrollable desire” in conformity with mimetic theory. In Levinasian terms, subjectivity to otherness indicates that all the characters interact with the other by means of their own ethical relatedness as is the case in the novel. In regard to Levinas’s notion, Forster also provides proximity among his characters mostly, spiritual and emotional proximity by considering the prereflective locus of the self. In order to do this, Forster employs distant countries, nations and classes. Apart from Levinas, this study also unveils the secrecy of “uncontrollable desire” in the inner mental life and rational thought of the characters through the Layderian perspective. The study concludes that both male and female characters, somewhat, behave inconformity with their own ethical relatedness and try to control their “uncontrollable desire”.
E. M. Forster, Emanuel Levinas, Derek Layder, Ethical Relatedness, Uncontrollable Desire