Paper: An Analysis of John Gardeners On Moral Fiction

The notion that plot exists to give characters a place to stand and that thought is simply what characters would say if they were wiser and in the readers place is very interesting in the sense that it provides an in-depth analyzation on literature. True, plot only gives characters a place to stand, but they could still exist without a surrounding. Plot is just a given in literature to make it more interesting. Moral fiction offers a careful, thoroughly honest search for and analysis of values; it explores open- mindedly, to learn what it should teach; it clarifies, confirms, and rouses trustworthy feelings about the better and worse in human action. However, if an artist who feels nothing towards his characters but feels ardently towards his words instead is not thinking about the themes in his work. This is clear in Ethan Frome because Edith Wharton obviously felt very strongly about the characters she was creating in her work. We see the good and the bad in the actions of the characters in the book. Gardner argues that current literature suffers most of all from a plain failure of morality. Moral fiction in his view is fiction that attempts to test human values, not for the purpose of preaching or peddling a particular ideology, but in a truly honest and open-minded effort to find out what best promotes human fulfillment. He does so by the kind of analysis of characters and the things they do that brings both writer and reader to understanding, sympathy, and love for human possibility. Because so much present-day fiction fails to be moral in this sense, it undermines our experience of literature and our faith in ourselves. However, Ethan Frome is an exception to these works because it underlines all the important facets in literature and moral fiction....