The Architecture Of Identity

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Wesleyan University The Honors College The Architecture of Identity: E.M. Forster and the Use of Space by Peter S. Hill Class of 2008 A thesis submitted to the faculty of Wesleyan University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Bachelor of Arts with Departmental Honors from the College of Letters Middletown, Connecticut April, 2008 Acknowledgements I couldn’t have completed this project without the support, advice, and occasional distraction of a number of people. First, I’d like to thank Ian, for being here even when he was there, and for making everything seem eminently possible. Thank you also to my friends for their constant encouragement and companionship, and for helping me see beyond the project at hand. My parents have been wonderfully understanding and supportive during this whole process; thank you to them for having made this and so many opportunities possible. To the College of Letters Class of 2008 I owe special gratitude for three years of intellectual engagement and camaraderie. Finally, thank you to Randi Saloman for her guidance and advice, and for telling me to read Forster in the first place. 2 Contents Introduction! Private and Public Space! Houses! Streets! Flats and Hotels! Identity and Space! Personal Identity! National Identity! Conclusion! Bibliography! 4 10 13 22 33 45 47 57 80 83 3 Introduction E.M. Forster begins his short story “The Machine Stops” by asking his readers to imagine a small, hexagonal room “like the cell of a bee,” that contains only an armchair and a reading desk.1 While there is music, fresh air, and light, there are neither instruments nor windows nor lamps. A pale woman sits in an armchair, connecting to people in identical rooms across the world through “the Machine,” a giant system that provides all of its subjects’ basic needs, from communication to food. The
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