Study Guide

Where Angels Fear to Tread Genre

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Family Drama

The genre of Where Angels Fear to Tread falls squarely under the category of family drama, since the novel deals with the familial tensions within the Herriton household: Lilia is the black sheep of the family and her overbearing in-laws are constantly struggling to keep her in check and follow the herd.

We can also expand the genre of family drama to include the cultural clashes between the Herritons in England and the Carellas in Italy. Lilia causes a total uproar when she marries a foreigner, and the Herritons are faced with the unpleasant decision of whether or not to welcome a lower-class Italian into the family (the answer is a resounding no).

To further complicate everything, the birth of Lilia's son sends the Herritons into a battle over the custody of the child, who they believe should be raised on proper English soil. In this ultimately tragic family drama, Forster forces us to examine whether it is possible for cultural differences to be reconciled when it comes to marriage and family. Psst: Forster's pessimistic answer to that question is "Nuh-uh."

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