Howards End by E M Forster

Howards End

Howards End is an English novel by E. M. Forster published in 1910. This work of fiction explores social conventions, codes of conduct, and relationships in turn-of-the-century England. It is considered one of Forster's most important works. This short novel is about the changing nature of the family and the town, as well as how people relate to one another.

Howard's End

Howard's End is a powerful literary work about the power of relationships. It follows three women whose lives are entwined. Helen Schlegel, a twenty-something, is spending time at Howards End after meeting the Wilcoxes in Germany. Her sister Margaret is not able to join her, as she is busy caring for her sick 16-year-old daughter, Tibby. However, Helen writes to Margaret, describing her fascination with the Wilcoxes. She is a huge fan of the Wilcoxes, and she is also passionate about women's rights.

Howards End's Place in Literary Tradition

Howards End belongs to a tradition of great female novels by Jane Austen, E.M. Forster, and Louisa May Alcott. Atwell imbues the main character Margaret with a great deal of intelligence and a spark. The author refuses to take sides in the conflict between the two families, but the central question in "Howard's End" is: How is inner life related to outer life?

Howards End in Popular Culture

Howards End was first published in 1910. It depicts class struggle in turn-of-the-century England. The 1992 film adaptation, directed by Merchant and Ivory, was nominated for nine Academy Awards and won three. It even featured a pink-and-yellow rattlesnake named Howard.

Ruth Wilcox

The premise of Howards End lays out the conflict between the three main characters. Both are unhappy with the way their lives are turning out. But as the novel unfolds, we learn how their choices can affect their lives. The first character, Elizabeth Bishop, is twenty-nine when the novel begins. She is a highly intelligent and sensitive woman. She also has a spirited, joyful inner life, which makes her an ideal bridge between the other two characters.

The Setting of Howards End

The novel is set in the early twentieth century, in England. It features three families, including the impoverished Basts family and half-German Schlegel siblings. The setting is a place where life and death are interwoven. The house, called Howards End, is Helen Wilcox's ancestral home, and it becomes an important part of all the relationships between the three families.

Margaret's Observations

Margaret senses Mrs. Wilcox's sentimental attachment to Howards End. She misses the old pony paddock and the grand old wych-elm. Her nostalgia strikes a note that is inexplicable and arouses suspicions from Margaret. However, she understands Miss Avery's generosity in the circumstances.

Leonard Bast

The central character in Leonard Bast at Howard's End is an idealistic young man who lives on a low-paying job in an insurance company and is estranged from his family because of his relationship with a prostitute. He scrapes together money to attend concerts and read books in order to improve his life. During one of his trips, he encounters the wealthy sisters Helen and Margaret Schlegel at a Beethoven concert. He impresses them with his story of walking through the night. He dreams of maintaining an intellectual relationship with the sisters.

Class System and Society

Leonard Bast is an interesting character in the novel. Although he hates class, he has respect for it. Throughout the novel, he has a strong view on the class system and has a great sympathy for the Schlegel family. The premise of his novel revolves around the class system in Britain, and how it affected society.

Helen Schlegel

In Helen Schlegel, Howards End, the title character befriends Leonard Bast, who lives in the house of a woman of dubious origin. Helen is impressed with Leonard's intellectual curiosity and his desire to improve himself. Leonard's father, Henry, advises him to quit his job at the insurance company, but Leonard settles for a lower paying position. Leonard eventually loses his job due to downsizing.

Themes Explored in Howards End

Howards End explores issues of class, gender, power, and money, all set to the backdrop of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. At the center of the drama is the attraction of two people with conflicting values. Helen Schlegel believes that the rich have a responsibility to the poor, while Henry Schlegel sees Helen's sentimentalism as an unrealistic idea.

Helen's Encounter with Leonard Bast

Helen Schlegel, in this novel, accidentally steals Leonard Bast's umbrella, which he left in Queen's Hall. Leonard, a working class man, and his wife, Jacky, live in poverty. The two struggle to make ends meet and try to escape their dreary existence through reading and concerts.

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