The Good Soldier


Ford Madox Ford

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Good Soldier can help.

Martin Luther’s Protest Symbol Analysis

Martin Luther’s Protest Symbol Icon

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

The The Good Soldier quotes below all refer to the symbol of Martin Luther’s Protest. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Marriage and Infidelity Theme Icon
Part 1, Chapter 4 Quotes

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.

Related Characters: Florence Dowell (speaker), John Dowell (speaker), Edward Ashburnham, Leonora Ashburnham
Related Symbols: Martin Luther’s Protest
Page Number: 31
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Good Soldier LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Good Soldier PDF

Martin Luther’s Protest Symbol Timeline in The Good Soldier

The timeline below shows where the symbol Martin Luther’s Protest appears in The Good Soldier. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 4
Marriage and Infidelity Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
When the group arrives in M—, they visit Martin Luther’s bedroom and look at his Protest, a document which differentiates Protestantism from Catholicism. Florence lectures the group about the importance of... (full context)