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Book I

In the book "The Man of Property” the author introduces us a big privileged family of Forsytes.  I would like to admit that the author focuses mainly on the description of the major characters. In the first chapters we meet most members of the family as they gather together because of the engagement of young June Forsyte. Here also appears Irene, the woman who is admired by so many men; her husband Soames, who adores his wife and is ready to do everything to make her happy. The book finishes with the death of Aunt Anny. And this event brings some confusion to the whole family, because they lose one of the most respectable members of the family.

There are not so many events in the first book, but these two like June’s engagement and Anny’s funeral help us to create an image of the whole family. First of all this is the family who value their relationships, and it does not matter whether things are going well or not, they are always together, supportive and ready to share things with each other. Each character is given some special characteristics and from these descriptions we realize that the Forsytes are very prudent, dignified and ambitious people. They are devoted to each other and in fact they treat others who are going to become part of the family very cautiously because they do not want anyone else to disturb or break their family world.

I would also like to speak about stylistic devices because the book is full of them, and it only proves us one more time that the language that the author uses in his novel is great. These constant ironical remarks form one character to another one produce on the one hand some comical effect, but on the other hand they just make us think deeper and understand the whole narration better. Just consider the example of a great metaphorical comparison, and think about the image that it creates in your mind, "He had become almost a myth – a kind of incarnation of security haunting the background of the Forsyte universe”.

And here is a great example of repetition that finishes the first part of the first book, "There spreading to the distance, lay London, with no sun over it, mourning the loss of its daughter, mourning with this family, so dear, the loss of her who was mother and guardian”. It seems that in this small piece of narration, the author manages to convey the whole atmosphere of that mourning day; you can be depressed and maybe even feel the same that the family feel, and sympathize them with their great loss. Now we can really understand what a great person Aunt Anny was and how important she was for the family. But why does the author finish the first part with that family tragedy? What is it? Just a death of an old woman? Or the beginning of the end? The end of the devoted family who pretend to seem very exemplary and harmonious? I suppose we will find the answers on the pages of this great book.

(by Luck)

The Forsytes – a big family with complicated relationships

The first part of the book "The Man of Property” tells the reader about the Forsytes. It’s a very big family with rather complicated relationships. The Forsytes is a family of upper class. The family is very conservative. They have been saving their values for dozens of years.

Actually, the first part is not rich in events. It begins with a meeting of the whole family that’s connected with the engagement of June Forsyte. She’s a granddaughter of Young Jolyon. Here we actually meet the most part of the Forsytes. This event characterizes the whole family as a very snobbish one. They are against the future husband of June. His name is Philip. He’s an architect, so he doesn’t have much money. And from the Forsytes’ point of view it’s really bad and inadmissible. So we can see that the Forsytes are a mercantile family. That’s why one of their values is money. The Forsytes really think that money rules the world.

            Another event and fact of the first part is the relationships between Young Jolyon and his father, Old Jolyon. They have a kind of a cold war, because Young Jolyon is an artist and doesn’t want to follow the way of life of his family. One more value for them is their blood. The blood of the Forsytes, but not royal. They are against all people who are not of upper class.

One more fact in the first part is the relationships between Soames and his wife Irene. Soames is a nephew of Old Jolyon. Irene can be called the prettiest lady in the Forsyte family. The author says that she can’t live without loving and being loved, but unfortunately she doesn’t love her husband.

The last main event in the plot-line of the first part is the death of Aunt Ann. She is the eldest member of Forsyte family. This death influences all the family. The Forsytes seemed to be an immortal family. One of their main values is their position in the society. And they do their best to defend it.

            Well, the life of the Forsytes means keeping all their pathetic values and defending them from people who don’t have so-to-say proper blood. Unfortunately, things can’t be stable all the time. And now everything is changing.

(by Seagull)

" …they [Forsytes]  did not die; death being contrary to their principles…”

This time I’m going to speak about the first book of "The Forsyte Saga”. And I’m going to share my impressions with you. First of all, I’d like to speak about the plot development. It isn’t rapid.  The author focuses on descriptions a lot. The first chapter begins with the gathering of the Forsyte Family due to the engagement of Miss June Forsyte. The last chapter of this book ends with their gathering due to Aunt Ann’s death. This event is an extraordinary one. It’s written in the first chapter "When a Forsyte was engaged, married, or born, the Forsytes were present; when a Forsyte died – but no Forsyte had as yet died; they did not die; death being contrary to their principles…” And then the well-being of the whole family is threatened by Aunt Ann’s death. If she has died, then everybody else can also die. That was a horrifying revelation. And I tend to think that the further development of the plot will somehow be connected with this revelation.

Now let me speak a bit about the author’s style. Considering this aspect, I must admit that the language of the saga is full of tropes and descriptive imaginative details. Galsworthy provides enough information for readers to understand who the Forsytes really are. He writes, ‘The Forsytes were resentful of something, not individually, but as a family; this resentment expressed itself in an added perfection of raiment, an exuberance of family cordiality, an exaggeration of family importance.’ And these features lead to the first conflict, the conflict between Philip Bosinney and the Forsytes. He is a young architect without fortune. They consider him to be "dangerous” for them. He doesn’t fit into their surrounding, into their family circle.

In this aspect its interesting to analyze their surname. Forsyte. Forsyte, foresight, prediction, anticipation. It means they are good at anticipating events. And if they are against this marriage, it will really harm them.

Another thing I’d like to discuss is the stylistic devices used by Galsworthy. His language is very ironical and full of different images. Let’s begin with some examples of irony. "The only aristocratic trait they could find in his character was a habit of drinking Madeira”. This irony is based on incongruity between words belonging to different semantic fields. Or consider, for example, "Old Jolyon was too much of a Forsyte to praise anything freely; especially anything for which he had a genuine admiration.” It is clearly seen that the author mocks at Forsytes. He laughs them out. But it’s not sarcasm, of course. Galsworthy is too kind for that. Actually there are numerous examples of irony in this book. But they all are about the Forsyte Family. They are aimed only at them. The author’s language changes a bit when he introduces other characters. It suggests the idea that Bosinney is not the only representative of the society opposed to Forsytes. But these are Forsytes who are positioning themselves above all other people.

To crown it all, the first book of the Forsyte Saga is very promising. Let’s follow the plot-development and see whether we have been right making our suppositions.

(By Asya)

John Galsworthy, one of the greatest British writers. As a novelist and a playwright, he was commercially successful and critically esteemed. The Man of Property became the first novel in The Forsyte Saga which expanded his audience and his reputation. The time, in which the saga is written, is the end of the 19th century. The setting of the novel is Victorian England. At the end of the 19th century England is characterized by the following features: it is a powerful empire, it is the workshop of the world, and, finally, it is the bank of the world. Bourgeoisie was the ruling class of the country. In the first book we get acquainted with the head of the Forsyte family.  It is Jolyon Forsyte who is about eighty years old. Jolyon has four sons and one daughter. Among Forsyte family there are many lawyers, bankers, merchants and assessors.  The Forsyte clan includes about twenty members and it has history of many years. The first chapter begins with the description of family festival. They celebrate the engagement of Miss June Forsyte, old Jolyon’s granddaughter to Mr. Philip who is a common architect without special privileges and he is not successful in life. That’s why Jolyon is against their marriage.  In the first book we can see many descriptions of every member of this big clan. The author uses metaphorical language for it. For example a description of June "There was June, the atom with flaming hair, who had climbed all over him, twined and twisted herself about him…” to show her really explosive and energetic character combining with June’s tremendous beauty.

When we speak about Forsyte family on the one hand we can say these people are really united. When a Forsyte was engaged, married, or born, the Forsytes were present even when a Forsyte died but death always being contrary to their principles. And always the Forsytes were resentful of something, not individually, but as a family. They try to respect each other and it plays a great role in this family. More over it is upper-class, aristocratic, well-educated family who is also interested in science, art, literature and even technology. But on the other hand we can see that Forsyte family loves and values all it is material things. We can recognize the Forsytes by their sense of property. Everything which surrounds them is rich and beautiful. Houses, atmosphere, their clothes all these things are described in details. The Forsytes can buy everything what they want except good relationships in family. And the real example of it, it is the death of aunt Ann. And neither family money nor Forsyte’s property could help to be every time together.   

(By Tanya)

The first step to the dead end

In the first part of the 1st book the reader gets acquainted with the Forsytes. The first chapter begins with the description of a family festival. The reader understands who Forsyes are, he comprehends that it's a great family, each member of which is full of dignity and nobleness. They are proud to be the parts of this legendary clan, they are always together, being ready to support each other.

Actually, the first part is not so rich in events. First of all its June and Bosinney's engagement, that most of the family members disapprove of. Bosinney is a poor and mediocre architect. One of the main conflicts seems to appear exactly between Bossiney and the Forsytes and the reader feels the growing tension in their relationships.

One of the main events is Aunt Ann's death. She was a kind of legend of the family, who knew everything about everybody, the most influential person in the family, so-called axis of the clan. So, her death seems to be the very end not only of the first part of the novel, but the end of one of the most essential parts in the Forsytes's history. Even in the first part changes in the Forsytes's principles are shown. As we can remember, it was written "when a Forsyte was engaged, married or born, the Forsytes were present; when a Forsyte died – but no Forsyte had as yet died; they did not die; death being contrary to their principles”. So, these are the main principles of the family – to be together, to live forever. And all these principles are absolutely broken down, destroyed and demolished by only one even – Aunt Ann's death. "Perhaps what really affected them so profoundly was the thought that a Forsyte should have let go her grasp on life. If one, then why not all”. "It was strange and intolerable, for they had not thought somehow, that Forsytes could die”. One of the most important principles of the Forsytes was ruined by the death, and they demolish another one themselves – after the funerals they fall apart, each of them going in his own direction, the roads parted. The rules are violated. The history of the Forsytes is drawing to a close.

(by Rina)

This story tells us about one huge family of Forsytes who are aristocrats and very proud of their big family history. Every member of this family are interested in things connected with bank, bonds and shares. The head of this family is old Djolion a man of eighty six years who became rich by selling tea. The story begins from the description of the celebrating Djuns and Fillip Bosini’s engagement. But the head  of the Forsytes disagreed with this decision because Bosini is a poor architect who had no money and nobody knew would his business develop or not.

The clan Forsyte cared only about banks and bonds. They were real aristocrats and as such a usual aristocrat they liked art, literature, music, opera and so on. This family is like a bee hive, they have one common thing for every of them – the history of their family and their status and fortune. These are traditions and principles for every member. But their principles ruined  in case of young Forsyte. Just look at them: young Forsyte could not save their families. Young Djolion was married for the second time, Soms and Irene got divorced. That gave us a sign that some principles are dying.

Forsyte are very conservative, they have a number of family traditions which they follow and save. But there is a competition between six children who compete in fortune. They are all self-confident, bright-looking and rich. This family belongs to the upper class. A set of traditions united them and they do not want somebody else to enter their family. The title ‘The man of property’ means that people who have much money think that they are the top of this world. Well, Forsytes thought that the world revolves around them.

This novel if full of different stylistic mechanisms such as irony. " The principle of this house,” said the architect, " was that you should have room to breath – like a gentlemen”. This piece of irony means that if you want to try to please the Forsytes you should behave as they and have a huge sum of money. As I have already said, the Forsytes behaved themselves very separately.

The first chapter finished by the death of aunt Ann, who was the older in this family. Her death influences all the clan Forsutes.

(By Megastarosta)

The first book titled "The man of property” tells us a story about a huge family of Forsytes. The first section of the book begins with narration of Old Jolyon, the head of the Forsyte clan. Jolyon has many children, and the family belongs to the upper class of the English society – bankers, lawyers, financiers, property owners. The book begins with the feast dedicated to the engagement of June Forsyte and Mr. Bosinney, a young architect. Afterwards we move forward to description of different characters and revealing their personalities. Thus, we understand what Forsytes are.

The family of Forsytes has its peculiar features, which are revealed through the book. This surely concerns Soames who has a great interest for property and whose scornful grin is so much despised by the readers. He’s quite critical or even cynical. He is a man of firm principles though, and he is very good at running a business just as all true Forsytes.   The title of the book represents the whole psychology of the family – they are men of property, and they live according to the laws of the world of property. Though we may claim that Forsytes are enslaved by property and the feeling of profit, nit all the Forsytes feel in this way, some of them, for instance June, Irene or Bossiney, don’t seem to be real Forsytes. And here we see the main conflict – the world of beauty and art is juxtaposed with the world of property.

The feeling of property is one of the most important values of the Forsytes. They are careful about their business. Property, money, income is what worries them. They are strongly against progress. I may say that they’re even afraid of it. Maybe tis very fact anticipates the fall of the family. Beauty and art have nothing to do with the creed of the Forsytes. They are calculating when they run business or control their property. These things have led them to the upper society, but one should always pay for everything , and these things predict the slow process of rotting that actually increases gradually through the book and reaches the boiling point in the end. 

by 8davids8

Even the Rich Cry..

The Forsyte Saga is a series of novels which was later adapted for television. The first part of the saga "The Man of Property” is dedicated to the detailed description of the large family of  the Forsytes. Each character is finely elaborated within the novel and has a story of its own. Nevertheless, the family represents a whole society of well-bred and prosperous people and this special, exquisite society possesses a set of family principles shared by everyone. In the preface we come across several words and expressions that serve a frame to understanding the story. These key words fall into several groups, but all of them can be considered Forsytes’ philosophy and guiding rules of the family. Possessive instincts, beauty and passion, fashion, tribal instinct, sense of home and property, manners, security, ownership, changing pretentions, freedom. These notions are crowned by one powerful and diversified term – Human Nature. The whole book is about revealing the secrets of a human nature, no matter what social position a person holds, what material possessions belong to him, what people associate with him. 

It is vital to grasp the concept "implanted” in the title of the book. It seems to me that it is possible to draw parallels between the idea hidden in the title of the book and the Bible. "The Man of Property” is an allusion to the words of Jesus Christ about those people who are able to enter the Kingdom of God: "It's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven”. Forsytes greatly appreciate their possessions and despise those people who fail to earn money and to become important in society. They believe in omnipotence of money and their understanding of life goals revolves around one and the same thing – what you have is what you are. But the members of the family are to suffer the collapse of the beliefs and truths existing for them. They will have to live through the events fretting their family pride. 

The beginning of the novel narrates the episode which serves an exposition and an introduction to the whole novel. The Forsytes assembled at Old Jolyon’s to celebrate the engagement of June to Philip Bosinney The part is focused on the relationships between three people: Soames Forsyte, his beautiful and exquisite wife Irene and Philip Bosinney who is engaged to June, the granddaughter of Jolyon Forsyte. But along with the description of these characters, the author provides a prototype of a man of that epoch – a Forsyte. It is evident that any person who shares the same principles as the members of this family can be given the name of a Forsyte. A Forsyte is easily recognizable by the sense of property, by the ability to look at things practically. He knows what he needs; he can find a way of access to it; he clings to every form of property – either a wife, or houses, or money, or reputation.

So the first part of the saga introduces the conflict between the world of the rich and prosperous and the world of those people who try to tear themselves away from the latter one. These people are Irene and Bosinney. Their relationships are going to bring up a collapse to the Forsytedom and the principles they cherish and stick to.

(by MissJane)

The first part deals with the biography of the Forsytes. We get acquainted with all the members, their relations and attitudes to each other and to the whole London society. The action starts at at old Jolion’s house, where the whole family celebrates the engagement of old Jolion’s granddaughter June with Bossine – an architect with no income and influence. June is the only daughter of old Jolion’s sun and his first wife, but he betrayed his first wife, and got married with governess. The latter gave birth to 2 children Jolly and Holly.  According to rules of that times old Jolion had to repudiate his son in order to have an opportunity to bring up his only granddaughter.

At Jolion’s house we learn that there are 10 brothers and sisters in family Forsyte. The oldest person is Ann. She is the most respectable women in their family. But for the plot of the first book we are interested in Soames and his wife Irene, who is always in the centre of attention. Soames is the son of James Forsyte. Irene is the most pretty and graceful woman in their family, but she doesn’t love her husband.

The Forsytes have many things in common. Their position is quite stable, they have power and dignity, all of them have much money and ways of its spending. Like all aristocratic people they are interested in theatre, paintings, music or sculpture. We can’t say that they frankly envy each other, but they try to look wealthier than other representatives of the dynasty. We can also feel a light hypocrisy in their speeches. By the way they want to be together, they feel the very belonging to this family. But pride of the family is still a pride – a great sin. And one day I think they will pay for it.

(by Ayayulia)


The events take place in London, at the end of the 19th century. In the Forsyte’s clan there is an atmosphere of pathos, self-importance and business talks. They care about their status, their property, their future, future of their children, grandchildren and grand grandchildren. The Forsytes all look respectable and polished, they speak grandly with an air of importance, everything they seem to care about is investments and business, money and power, prosperity and bright future. They are the upper class, the cream of society, the top of UK’s burjuasie, powers that be. But like everything perfect, it is only the tip of the iceberg. No everything is going on in the clan itself and in lives of some of its members particularly.

All the events which take place in the first part of the book point at the fact that the main value of the Family is its monumentality and prosperity. The elder Forsytes, offsprings of Superior Dosset, who had came to London in the beginning of the century and worked as a bricklayer, contractor and builder, are competing with each other for the status of the richest and the most prosperous. One of the young Forsytes, June, is going to engage a poor and ungifted architect Phillip Bossiney. He arouses suspicions in the Forsytes clan. They do not want June to marry a poor architect, who has no property, no money and is not capable of joining the big business. It points at the fact that they don’t care about people’s feeling and don’t believe in true love. Another plotline is about relationships of Old and Young Jollions. Old Jollion has problem with his son. He tries to bring Young Jollion to reason, because he refused to take part in family business – so such things as freedom of choice and discretion aren’t familiar to the Forsyte’s tribe too. Soamas’s life is actually no honeymoon too. He’s is practically obsessed by money and property. His wife, Irene, ignores and dislikes him, because she doesn’t love him and married him under pressure.

The well-to-do and bigoted Forsytes live in their own little world, in their pride and don’t want anything or anybody to invade it. But we see that the inviolability of the clan is going to be shaken soon – younger Forsytes show disposition, their own principle, free from these endless business talks and life planned for years ahead. The clan is fracturing.

(by Alex)


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