What is the event? Fowles has written A Maggot to find out. The first two thirds of that finding out strike me as excellent. The little group of travellers consist of what appear to be an uncle and a nephew, accompanied by two manservants one of them a deaf mute , and with a maid whom the gentlemen may be intending to deliver into the service of a neighbouring rich relation.
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Plot summary[ edit ] The book opens with an objective narration about a group of five travellers travelling through Exmoor in rural England. They arrive at an inn in a small village, and soon it becomes clear that they are not who they seem to be. We learn from a fictional news story that a man has been found hanged near the place where the travellers were staying. The interviews reveal that Bartholomew had hired the party to travel with him but deceived them about the purpose of his journey.
Variations of his story are 1 he was on his way to elope against the wishes of family; 2 he was visiting a wealthy, aged aunt to secure an inheritance from her; 3 he was seeking a cure for impotence; 4 he was pursuing some scientific or occult knowledge, possibly concerning knowledge of the future.
He takes Rebecca and Dick to a cave in a remote area. She says that she actually saw Bartholomew meet a noble lady who took them all inside a strange floating craft which she calls "the maggot". She also sees a vision of human suffering and cruelty in this version of her story. Modern readers may interpret her visions as films and her overall experience as a contact with time travellers or extraterrestrials. Rebecca then loses consciousness; she wakes, finds Jones outside the cave, and they leave together.
She then tells Jones the satanic version of her experience. Meanwhile, Jones has seen Dick leave the cave in terror, presumably to go and hang himself.
Rebecca later finds herself pregnant. She returns to her Quaker parents but then converts to Shakerism , marries a blacksmith named John Lee, and gives birth to Ann Lee , the future leader of the American Shakers. Main characters[ edit ] "Mr. Hired by Bartholomew to accompany him on his journey, she is the only living witness of the mysterious event in the cave, and the fictional mother of the real Shaker leader Ann Lee.
Francis Lacy alias Mr. Brown : An actor hired by Bartholomew to play his uncle during the journey. His testimony adds little to the mystery of the disappearance, though it includes several important conversations with Bartholomew about the nature of God, fate, free will, and social justice. His letters to the Duke which report his progress, as well as the transcripts of his interrogations of various witnesses, make up the majority of the novel. Some critics argue that readers are implicitly identified with the Duke, leading them to examine their assumptions and interpretations critically.
It is widely assumed he is gay. Originally, these strategies were intended to strengthen the illusion of reality and mitigate the fictionality of fiction; Fowles uses them ironically to highlight the disconnect between fiction and reality. In particular, the novel resists the convention of detective fiction which satisfies the desire for a final solution.
The "maggot" itself, as a possible time machine , represents historians as intruders in the past who alter it according to their own desires and needs.
The power struggle between Ayscough and Rebecca to create the narrative of the past problematises the objectivity of history, making it subordinate to interests of social class and gender. In the end, Fowles uses Rebecca and Ayscough as representatives of two classes of people, one subjective, intuitive, mystical, artistic i. See cerebral hemisphere.
Finally, Fowles explicitly positions A Maggot in an era which, he claims, saw the beginning of modern selfhood see self psychology , self philosophy , individual. Rebecca is a prototypical modern individual experiencing the difficulty of breaking free from the restraints of society and convention to be radically self-realized. His postscript both praises the struggle for modern selfhood and criticises it for having been co-opted by capitalism to create excessive consumerism.
Selected criticism[ edit ] Brax, Klaus. Helsinki: University of Helsinki,
At the age of 26, after receiving legal training, Robert enlisted in the Honourable Artillery Company and spent three years in the trenches of Flanders during the First World War. During , the year Robert was demobilised, his father Reginald died. Robert became responsible for five young half-siblings as well as the children of his brother. Although he had hoped to practise law, the obligation of raising an extended family forced him into the family trade of tobacco importing. Gladys Richards belonged to an Essex family also originally from London. The Richards family moved to Westcliff-on-Sea in , as Spanish flu swept through Europe, for Essex was said to have a healthy climate.