I'd like to add my two cents' worth of speculation about what the impact of class differences would have been on Alec and Maurice as a couple.
Maurice is middle class, not upper class, as Clive's mother makes clear when Maurice offers her his hand at their first meeting. The gaffe is surprising, because even here in America it was a rule that a man never offered his hand to a woman unless she extended hers first. Maurice seems not to know this, for he extends his hand to Clive's mother even though she has not offered it. We see a flash of surprise on her face as she tepidly accepts and shakes his hand. It's funny, and a little painful, if you understand what's happening.
That little bit of business shows us that the gulf between upper class Clive and middle class Maurice is every bit as wide as that between Maurice and working class Alec. If we take it as a matter of fact that Maurice could survive in Clive's world--and we see him doing so--why should we be any less willing to admit that Alec could survive in Maurice's?
We shouldn't. Maurice expects Clive to treat him as an equal just as Alec expects Maurice to treat him as an equal. In fact, Alec demonstrates repeatedly that he IS Maurice's equal, and he even tells Maurice so to his face. After they've "shared" Alec drops some of his deference to Maurice (but not entirely, after all, some of it is just automatic from habit), but he talks to him as an equal: "Ordering me about again--you would!" and "My people wouldn't take to you either, and I wouldn't blame them" and, most effectively, "What does your engagement matter?"
And, too, a lot of what might be thought of as their class difference is perhaps more about the differences in their environments. Alec is a country boy and Maurice is a suburban/urban boy. These are lifestyles that are very different but they are lifestyles that can become familiar, even comfortable, with exposure.
Alec would make the relationship work. Alec has initiative (he climbs in the window and stays), and determination (he goes to London). We need to remember that when we express apprehension about the happy couple's future.
Overall I had the impression that Alec would be a quick study, adapting easily to whatever joint lifestyle he chooses for them. After all, Alec will be the boss of the relationship, as made apparent when he delivers what is probably THE most romantic line in all of gay cinema, "Now we shan't never be parted. It's finished."
I too think they would have emigrated, to Canada or the U.S., or anyplace where the differences in their accents would not be so obvious. They would live someplace where they would be perceived as two Englishmen, rather than as two different kinds of Englishmen.
After a couple years, Alec's eye would wander, and he would stray. But he'd be sure to be home every night with Maurice, snug as bugs in a rug.
Drama / Romance
Drama / Romance
Two male English school chums find themselves falling in love at Cambridge. To regain his place in society, Clive gives up his forbidden love, Maurice (pronounced "Morris") and marries. While staying with Clive and his shallow wife, Anne, Maurice finally discovers romance in the arms of Alec, the gamekeeper. Written from personal pain, it's E.M. Forster's story of coming to terms with sexuality in the Edwardian age.
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September 17, 2017 at 09:23 AM