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Howards End
     

Howards End

3.6 68
by E. M. Forster
 

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The Schlegels frequently encounter the Wilcoxes. The youngest, Helen, is for a short period intensely attracted to the younger Wilcox brother, Paul; each rejects the other for his or her own reasons. The eldest, Margaret, becomes friends with Paul's mother, Ruth Wilcox. Ruth's most prized personal possession is her family house at Howards End. She wishes that Margaret

Overview

The Schlegels frequently encounter the Wilcoxes. The youngest, Helen, is for a short period intensely attracted to the younger Wilcox brother, Paul; each rejects the other for his or her own reasons. The eldest, Margaret, becomes friends with Paul's mother, Ruth Wilcox. Ruth's most prized personal possession is her family house at Howards End. She wishes that Margaret could live there, as she feels that it might be in good hands with her. Ruth's own husband and children do not value the house and its rich history, because such abstractions, while being very dear to Margaret, are lost to them. As Ruth is terminally ill, and Margaret and her family are about to be evicted from their London home by a developer, Ruth bequeaths the cottage to Margaret in a handwritten note delivered to her husband from the nursing home where she has died, causing great consternation among the Wilcoxes. Mrs Wilcox's widowed husband, Henry, and his children burn the note without telling Margaret about her inheritance. However, over the course of several years, Margaret becomes friends with Henry Wilcox and eventually marries him. The more free-spirited Margaret tries to get Henry to open up more, to little effect. Henry's elder son Charles and his wife try to keep Margaret from taking possession of Howards End.
Gradually, Margaret becomes aware of Henry's dismissive attitude towards the lower classes. On Henry's advice, Helen tells Leonard Bast to quit his respectable job as a clerk at an insurance company, because the company stands outside a protective group of companies and thus is vulnerable to failure. A few weeks later, Henry carelessly reverses his opinion, having entirely forgotten about Bast, but it is too late, and Bast has lost his tenuous hold on financial solvency. Bast lives with a troubled, "fallen" woman for whom he feels responsible and whom he eventually marries. Helen continues to try to help young Leonard Bast (perhaps in part out of guilt about having intervened in his life to begin with, as Leonard had not wanted it and Henry had explicitly stated beforehand that he advised no one) but it all goes terribly wrong; because of Bast's wife's connection with Henry, Henry will not countenance helping them. It is later revealed that 10 years previously, as a teenager, she had been Henry's mistress in Cyprus, but he had then carelessly abandoned her, an expatriate English girl on foreign soil with no way to return home. Margaret confronts Henry about his ill-treatment, and he is ashamed of the affair but unrepentant about his harsh treatment of her. Because of Margaret's impending marriage into the Wilcoxes and situations such as these, the Schlegel sisters drift apart somewhat. In a moment of pity for the poor, doomed Bast, Helen has an affair with him. Finding herself pregnant, she leaves England to travel through Germany to conceal her condition, but eventually returns to England when she receives news of her Aunt Juley's illness. She refuses a face-to-face meeting with Margaret in an effort to hide her pregnancy but is fooled by Margaret – acting on the advice of Henry – into a meeting at Howards End. Henry and Margaret plan an intervention with a doctor, thinking Helen's evasive behavior is a sign of mental illness. When they come upon Helen at Howards End, they also discover the pregnancy. Margaret tries in vain to convince Henry that if he can countenance his own affair, he should forgive Helen hers. Mr. Bast arrives having been tormented by the affair wishing to speak with Margaret. He is not aware of Helen's presence. Henry's son, Charles, attacks Bast for the dishonor he has brought to Helen, and accidentally kills him when striking him with the flat edge of a sword, Leonard grabs onto a bookcase, which falls on top of him, and his weak heart gives out. Charles is charged with manslaughter and sent to jail for three years. The ensuing scandal and shock cause Henry to reevaluate his life and he begins to connect with others. He bequeaths Howards End to Margaret, who states that it will go to her nephew - Helen's son by Bast - when she dies. Helen reconciles with her sister and Henry and decides to raise her child at Howards End. Margaret is usually viewed as the heroine of the story because, in staying married to Henry despite the scandal, she acts as a uniting force, bringing all the characters peaceably together at Howards End. Henry is sometimes viewed as a hero because he triumphs over his inability to connect with the situations of others. In the end, the open-minded intellectuality of the Schlegels is reconciled or balanced with the practical economy of the Wilcoxes, each learning lessons from the other.

Product Details

BN ID:
2940014239479
Publisher:
DB Publishing House
Publication date:
03/22/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
262
File size:
2 MB

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Born in London in 1879, E. M. Forster is the author of six novels: Where Angels Fear to Tread, The Longest Journey, A Room with a View, Howard’s End, A Passage to India, and Maurice, the last published posthumously. He also wrote a number short stories, in addition to criticism and essays. His books have been adapted into several popular movies. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 13 separate years. He died in 1970.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
January 1, 1879
Date of Death:
June 7, 1970
Place of Birth:
London
Place of Death:
Coventry, England
Education:
B. A. in classics, King's College, Cambridge, 1900; B. A. in history, 1901; M.A., 1910

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Howards End (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 68 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't usually have an issue getting into books but reading this was a new experience. It was more like reading about the lives of three families in a casual way than an actual storyline. There is a lot of interaction between the characters and a lot of discussion about how society is changing. As far as classics go I feel like the time period it is taking place is no longer victorian but it is still before world war 1, I have not read a lot of books that take place in this time period. The whole time I read this book I didn't really like it, the relationships seemed trifling and were uninteresting to me, but now that I have finished I keep thinking about this book for some reason.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A couple of typos are to be expected, but they are EVERYWHERE! Impossible to get through without losing patience. Don't buy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An previous reviewer mistakenly attributed "Remains of the Day" to E.M. Forster. While this work shares similarities with "Howards End", "Remains of the Day" was written by Kazuo Ishiguro, a Japanese-British author who was born in 1954. E.M. Forster lived 1879-1970. However, I still highly recommend "Remains of the Day" as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just finished the book. It was a drag, more than once i almost gave up. It's boring, goes nowhere , has no one character likeable. I thought that a book named Howards End would be the place where most of the story happens...never!!! here and there mentions of it. But the plot takes place somewhere else. Some chapters seems like a eternal rant from the author, those i just skipped ...couldn't take it . When the character Leonard is introduced in the story seems that would be a non important one because disappeared half the book and it's re introduced chapters later as if nothing has happened before. The chapters where Leonards is on it's an long ,long and boring rant that makes no sense . i stopped trying to understand what i was reading when i realized(by reading other reviews) that there is some philosophical stuff inserted in the conversations. So forget it. I hope that the movie version of this "classic" is better and understandable. The fact that this book is on the Classic Shelve does not make it good or worht the reading. if you must reading for homework, brace yourself it is going to be a long day before you see the end of Howards End....and if you do read it for pleasure....just read until page 100 (which is my personal mark for when i decide if i should conitnue or not reading a book that it's giving a hard time to get through it ) and decide if you continue or not. it is not worth your time .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A brilliant novel. One of my favorites.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The typos made a challenging book even more difficult to read. The story was interesting enough, but the characters were difficult to relate to.
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Lisa Martell More than 1 year ago
Excellent read!
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