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Reader Response Theory - Maurice by E.M Foster

             Growing up in rural England during the nineteen sixties, I never once had the slightest idea that men could love each other in the physical sense. I knew that men and women married each other and they sometimes made the marriage last or got divorced, that was the way of the world. During the week these people socialised in the pubs and clubs where the mating game for the singles was in full flow. The married men and women congregated in groups of their own sex to talk about sport, the weather, their children and other such niceties, at least this was my perception.
             Once I entered into my middle teenage years I noticed that some of the boys and girls at school never seemed to have a girlfriend respective boyfriend (it was after all the norm to have a physical relationship with a person of the opposite sex) and they often gathered together in small same sex groups of two or three. This behaviour didn't disconcert me as I was still quite happily totally unaware of physical same sex relationships. I just thought that these individuals were rather odd because they very rarely mixed or even tried to assimilate themselves into, what I considered to be, the normal life of a teenager. .
             Sex, I discovered sex, and at around the same time I discovered that some boys and girls liked to do what I was doing with girls with each other. I was more than confused at first, but this confusion turned into revulsion through deep conversation with my boyfriends. Homosexuality was a new word for me and for most of my friends, we felt disdain and abhorred the very meaning of the word and the people that carried out the actions that the word implies.
             With these thoughts in mind one would have naturally thought that I would be extremely resistant to a book such as Maurice, however this was not the case. I admit that when I first started reading the book it was with some reticence, but this turned into acceptance as I read further, what I was reading was not a story about homosexuals, but instead a story about the development of two adolescents, Maurice and Clive.

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