In The Good Soldier, Martin Luther’s Protest demonstrates the cultural gap between Florence and Leonora while simultaneously representing a rejection of conventional ideas about marriage and fidelity. Historically, the Protest was written to separate the beliefs of Protestants from Catholics, and, in effect, it brought about the fracturing of Christianity. In The Good Soldier, Edward, Leonora, Florence, and John take a trip to view the Protest. While looking at it, Florence discusses its historical importance and says that it is responsible for creating “honest, sober, and industrious” people like herself. In praising English Protestants, she also insults Irish Catholics, a group she knows Leonora belongs to. In addition, Florence takes this moment to touch Edward’s wrist, which reveals to Leonora that Florence and Edward are having an affair. This instance of physical contact, combined with the presence of the Protest, suggests that Florence is creating a division of her own. Like Martin Luther, she rejects what came before—in this case traditional ideas about fidelity—and, in turn, creates division. Her actions here lead to the fracturing of both marriages and turn conventional morality of its head.
Martin Luther’s Protest Quotes in The Good Soldier
She continued, looking up into Captain Ashburnham’s eyes: “It's because of that piece of paper that you're honest, sober, industrious, provident, and clean-lived. If it weren’t for that piece of paper you’d be like the Irish or the Italians or the Poles, but particularly the Irish....”
And she laid one finger upon Captain Ashburnham’s wrist.