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The Other Side of the Hedge

Posted by Jessica ( on 03:19:28 26/11/02

Im writing a paper on the story, THE OTHER SIDE OF THE HEDGE and im having trouble figuring out....can you hepl me???


Posted by nasrin ( on 10:14:00 26/04/03

It will be highly appreciated if you send me some information about theme,title,purpose,conclusion and neccessary things about "THE OTHER SIDE OF THE HEDGE " BY E.M FORSTER.For,I have a lecture about this story I like to be able to answer the questions asked by studets about this story.

The Other Side Of The Hedge

Posted by nizam ( on 11:18:29 06/11/03

After reading the first few paragraphs, The Other Side of the Hedge, by E. M. Forster, seems to be nothing more than a story about a man walking down a long road. The narrator's decision to go through the hedge transforms the story into an allegory that is full of symbols representing Forster's view of the journey of life. The author develops the allegory through the use of several different symbols including the long road, the hedge and the water.
The allegory is about man's life journey toward the ultimate goal of heaven. When the reader interprets the story on a literal level, it seems somewhat realistic, but he quickly senses a double meaning. In the story, the narrator travels on a long, dusty road that seems to have no end. He tells about the other people of the road, discussing the possessions that they attempt to carry with them. Some of these people abandon their journey, leaving their possessions behind to gather dust. The target of E.M. Forster's allegory is the transition from life on earth to life in heaven.

Forster's many symbols in the story portray his view of life. One important symbol that Forster mentions several times is the long, dusty road. The seemingly endless road represents the long, difficult journey of life. The people in the story must travel on the road even though it never ends and leads them nowhere. At first, they carry as many possessions with them as possible, but they eventually leave them behind, as he journey becomes more difficult. The narrator says, "The road behind was strewn with the things we had all dropped." Eventually, the people of the road realize how unimportant their possessions are, and that the journey will be easier without them. This is similar to real life, because the people with fewer possessions often lead happier, simpler lives than those who own many things. The narrator talks about some people who have abandoned the road. He leaves his brother by the roadside because "he had wasted his breath on singing and his strength on helping others." The brother died because he spent so much energy doing good for other people. Abandoning the journey on the road symbolizes death because the people in the story who abandon their journey never return. The narrator eventually considers leaving the road because he is tired of the long journey and curious about what is on the other side of the hedge. He lies "prostrate", looking toward the hedge and praying that he might "give up". The man's desire to leave the road means that he has given up on life and is starting to die.

The "brown, crackling hedge" that runs on either side of the road represents the transition from life on earth to life after death. The "tangle of boughs and dead leaves" creates a gloomy atmosphere and a sense of impending death. The narrator's trip through the hedge is a cleansing of all earthly possessions that is necessary in order to enter the other side. Thorny branches tear away the objects that the narrator has been carrying on the road. The difficult and painful journey signifies a slight punishment for the man's self-centered attitude earlier in life. Instead of helping others like his brother did, the man thought only of himself. Despite the pain caused by going through the hedge, the narrator continues as if he knows a better place awaits him on the other side.

After passing through the hedge, the narrator immediately falls into a moat. The cold water represents the Christian rite of baptism and the next step of the narrator's journey into the after-life. When the narrator falls into the water, it cleanses his body physically, but it also cleanses his soul symbolically. His body is no longer covered with dust from his journey on the road. The water also causes the main character's pedometer to stop working. This further indicates that all links to the narrator's past life have been destroyed. He has moved on to a different stage in life, and there is no turning back.

E.M. Forster's use of allegory and symbolism in The Other Side of the Hedge helps present his belief that the journey toward heaven is easier when one has fewer possessions and does good deeds for others. When the main character strays from the road, he begins a symbolic journey into heaven. The hedge strips him of his worldly possessions, while the water cleanses him spiritually, preparing him for the life to come.

Different View

Posted by Jeremy ( on :04:15:49 04/02/04

I saw The Other Side of the Hedge as a story about finding an internal "Garden of Eden." We left our natural kind of life there to begin a quest for knowledge (the road). We do not know where it will lead, but we become specialized and grasp for power and wealth (the objects) to reach the end which is, ironically, the simple life that we began at. I do agree that this story does have very religious overtones.

Different entirely....

Posted by Brandon ( on :08:04:09 04/05/04

By no means would E.M. Forster ever write something with any sort of religious overtones, it doesn't follow logic suit with his belief system.

entirely what i wrote myself

Posted by OPINION NUMBER 653 ( on 23:25:00 09/10/04

In the allegorical story titled “The Other Side of the Hedge,” the narrator, weary of his monotonous journey on a rather desolate road forces his way through a shallow spot in a large hedge. On the “other side”, he confronts a host who guides him towards sights that baffle the narrator’s understanding of meaning and significance- the very reason for human endeavor. He sees a man running without a goal and a girl singing alluringly without a purpose, contrary to his understanding of progress and bewildering him. E. M. Forster, the author, questions the paradigm of constant progress as the ultimate goal, the ultimate good of this existence.
E.B. Forster shows the meaningless nature of our question for more. In the main character’s insistence on getting back to the “…highway that oppressed me- dust under foot and brown crackling hedges on either side…” (pg. 39). Despite his deep fatigue both physically and mentally, this push for an “unknown” goal appears ridiculous, almost farsical. In this constant “push” toward advancement, everything becomes a burden- life becomes characterized by those things that are, “…strewn with the things we all dropped; all the white dust was settling down on the…” (pg. 39). It appears that he main character is so entrenched in the idea of progress, “in my short life, I have seen a great deal of advance….” (pg. 40), that the sight of a road which doubles, twists, and coils like a maze from the other side makes him deny what is obviously before him. Even with these “obstacles,” the character pushes on, “to what goal we know not…” (pg. 41).
E.M. Forster reveals the comic dilemma of a character who is able to appreciate the beauty, the Utopian nature, on the other side. Despite the lush pastures and cool waters in contrast with the desolate road, the narrator seems perplexed with the idea of enjoying things for the own sake. The striving and pressure to move forward nags at the narrator continually in his tour of the paradise where every other inhabitant appears to be so content. A world that can only appreciate and value constant progress, no matter how ugly or fruitless its consequences are, is in need a fixing. Forster’s criticism of a modern world strikes at the heart of the drive for continuous advancement at the price of joy, human dignity, and the lack of community.

i have questions

Posted by atieh teranifar ( on 17:12:01 21/08/05

the story shows us new horizons about life and death but i would like to know about the last part of the story and specialy about the drink.Another thing that i think would be intresting is that if there would be some comparing with the views of other religons.Islam is prefered.

E. M. Forster

Posted by ciabia ( on 03:32:43 26/10/05

Personally I got confused the first time i read the story. I had to go through and read it a second time, and on a higher level of thinking and knowing that english literature always winds up to be a story life and death, it would make more sense to say that "The Other Side of the Hedges" is about the man dying. I also don't get what the drink was, and why he didn't realize it at first but his brother was his guide? that just baffled me....

my interpretation

Posted by censor ( on :03:04:53 05/11/05

The story has existential, utopian, and political themes. His main point is the futility of progress and he places a higher value of in art, literature, and a simple communal life than a hasty, disjointed, capitalized lifestyle.

Other side of the hedge

Posted by Lina ( on :02:12:39 24/11/05

Can anyone explain the symbolism or meaning of the drink at the end and/or the man running with the sythe? Would appreciate the help.

wat i kno

Posted by nabeel ( on 17:26:57 12/10/06

other side of the hedge.."its
says about people running
after materialistic possesions
and forget to live life..

Meaning of The Other Side of the Hedge

Posted by Bobby ( on 21:32:29 15/10/06

If anyone knows the true symbolic meaning of this story please email me or post a message. I believe the story has to do with leaving behind material possesions and pursue life.

The other side of that there hedge

Posted by Phil ( on :19:59:53 17/10/06

Life is a struggle for an achievement, almost an idea of completing ones life by achieving a material euphoria. We don't realize that the road is almost more important than what we are striving for. The other side of the hedge represents a world without strife; a basic utopia. People live for the existence of everyone rather than the achievement of self. The man at the end is holding a scythe and is content with his life and working for the common good. It could almost be a spin off of communist ideals, or marxism.

Don't ask for a true symbolic meaning of a story, what you take from the story is yours, and it is rarely incorrect.

"The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth."
Niels Bohr

The scythe person & drink

Posted by Matthew H ( on :16:06:06 16/05/07

Hey everybody. I disagree with most people here because the other side of the hedge isn't Heaven: it's Purgatory. This explains why the self-consumed main character goes here. The man with the scythe represents the Reaper, an agent of the Devil who has wisened up by cutting crops. As for the drink, I don't know. Peace

The Gates

Posted by Matthew H ( on :16:10:02 16/05/07

Here's a history lesson for you all. The gates in the story are the Gates of Ivory and Horn, which played a role in Greek mythology. If you want to know more, read Homer's The Aneid, or a simplified sparknotes version for those who are younger. Forster included a little bit of everything in this story, and that's why it's my favorite short story ever. Peace.

the gates

Posted by phe ( on :16:25:51 20/07/07

yes it has something to do with the Gates of Ivory and Horn. the man with scythe comes from the gate through which gods sent the mortals true dreams. still it is so confusing to me...what's the drink? why the man happens to be his brother in the end?
it also seems to criticise the way we are accustomed to the struggles of real life(perhaps the capitalistic life) where 'every achievement is worthless unless it is a link in the chain of development'


Posted by pooja ( on 11:11:30 17/02/08

i feel its rightly mentions about the material poosessions in a man's life and the journey of life.And something such is also given in our hindu mythology.


Posted by pooja ( on 11:14:54 17/02/08

people who are interested in such stories,i recommend them of reading the hindu mythology which has many such stories that talks about spirituality and journey of life.(india)

the other side of the hedge

Posted by some guy ( on :11:20:39 02/04/08

i think this story is good
but the title reminds me to much of the movie "over the hedge"
peace out....


Posted by Liz ( on 01:44:05 07/04/08

I'm doing a paper about this short story and I'd like to get some info about the characters and their relationships throughout the story

Not about Christianity

Posted by Michael ( on :20:55:28 15/12/08

As a homosexual and secular humanist it is unlikely Forster intended any Christian interpretations of his story, although it is quite easy to make a good argument for them.

A more likely interpretation closer to Forster's intention is likely a civilization vs pastoral life.


Posted by rdog ( on :04:07:36 16/11/09

this story is a metaphor for freedom. Civilazation is a form of bondage for all members of society. Those who are traveling the road are limited by fatigue, oppression, opposition, and monotony. However, as the narrator transitions to a life of freedom (on the other side of the hedge), he is beaten up in the thorns and entangled brush. Thus, freedom always comes with a price. On the other side, Forester perhaps suggests that we are never free, since we are interdependant with other members of mankind. In addition, the idea that man is never free is again represented when the narrator recognizes the road (his past) and is unable to ignore it. The new area is gated in, further exemplifying mankind's "eternal bondage." That is just one of many perspectives that can be supported. I just am using this story for a term essay on freedom so I thought I'd provide some insight. I love that this type of board exists....

Existance and Meaning

Posted by Val ( on :23:01:33 23/02/10

I also feel that the main point behind this story is to explain the idea of life and its meaning before and after death (or even if it has meaning). The narrator seems to think that life on the other side of the hedge (heaven) has no meaning because there are no struggles or competition. This is why he seems confused by the fact that the runner is simply running because he can, not for a race. Therefore, the narrator believes that afterlife is meaningless because there is nothing else to achieve. I am also pretty confused about the part in the story where he takes the drink. I was thinking that maybe it could be a type of initiation? I'm not really sure how that could tie in with the fact that his brother shows up after. Overall, though, I found the story intriguing.


Posted by Kevino Mary ( on :06:34:42 10/09/10

I should very much like to be explained to, the symbolism of the drink and the brother. Thank you

drink up!

Posted by readiculous ( on :02:10:18 04/07/11

when I read this story last night I conceived that his brother had died from drinking, and he had promised himself he would not go down that path, yet in the end he steals the drink from his brother, which lead me to believe his death provoked by alcoholism.?


Posted by Shane ( on :14:57:58 12/08/11

Very interesting point about the Greek mythology, like someone mentioned above, I also got the impression that he was in purgatory. I was wondering does anyone have any theories as to whether there was any significance to one set of gates opening out and another set opening in, seemed to suggest that he was inside one of them ....

the other side of the hedge

Posted by david ( on :04:34:32 17/11/11

i see this story as a man giving up his goals for a happier life and through the hedge he finds out that happiness is hidden only from those who do not want it.

The Other Side of the Hedge

Posted by Jesus ( on :16:57:21 01/06/12

Good Story.

The other side of the hedge

Posted by Dale ( on :10:11:15 13/09/12

Reading it for a third time!


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