Thursday, March 22, 2007
The Last of the Tories
As explained in the previous blog entry, Ford discusses the issue of politics throughout the novel by presenting Tietjens as the epitome of Toryism. One aspect of Toryism is the conservation of old practices and the prevention against new technology and industrialization. Although Tietjens stands for these ideals, Parade’s End exemplifies the deterioration of Toryism in England right before the First World War. In Some Do Not, this deterioration of Tory ideals is illustrated when General Campion injures Valentine’s horse with his limousine.
"What the devil was the hissing? A small, closed car with crumpled mudguards, noiseless nearly, gleaming black…God curse it, it passed them, stopped ten yards down…the horse rearing back; mad! Clean mad…something like a scarlet and white cockatoo, fluttering out of the small car door…a general. In full tog. White feathers! Ninety medals! Scarlet coat! Black trousers with red stripe. Spurs too, by God!" (140-1)
The horse represents old practices idealized by Tietjens as a Tory and the fact that it is injured by a limousine shows how new technology, which is idealized by the military (symbolized by General Campion), is slaughtering these old values. In “The Impact of the First World War on Private Lives,” Vita Fortunati explains that “General Campion’s limousine lames a horse in an incident that symbolises the false progress of a civilization that constructs insidious weapons. Society has become the place where horrors, abuse and senseless violence reign” (61-2). Ford continues this idea of old values versus new ones in No More Parades when Tietjens explains that “…it was partly the simple, pathetic illusion of the day that great things could only be done by new inventions. You extinguished the Horse, invented something very simple and became God!” (496). Ford’s use of illustrating old values versus new values not only serves to further portray Tietjens as a Tory but also sheds light on his own ideas about the destructive power of new technology in the war and the increased fatalities that it caused.
Ford, Ford Madox. Parades End. Penguin: London, 2002.
Fortunati, Vita. "The Impact of the First World War on Private Lives: A Comparison of European and American Writers (Ford, Hemingway and Remarque)" History and Representation in Ford Madox Ford's Writing. Ed. Joseph Wiesenfarth. Rodopi: Amsterdam, 2004. 61-2.