by E.M. Forster
Analysis: What's Up With the Epigraph?
Epigraphs are like little appetizers to the great entrée of a story. They illuminate important aspects of the story, and they get us headed in the right direction.
This phrase, a quote from the novel itself, is the guiding principle of its main character, Margaret (Schlegel) Wilcox. She longs for people to be able to reach out to each other and truly communicate – beyond superficial barriers like class or gender – and, as she says, "Only connect." We can also view this as a kind of pocket-sized version of Forster's philosophy; in a nutshell, he was obsessed with this idea of human connection and sympathy across boundaries of prejudice.