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Howard's End

Essay by review  •  November 16, 2010  •  Essay  •  835 Words (4 Pages)  •  924 Views

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Young, pretty Helen has left her London home to visit the Wilcox family estate, Howards End. (Helen and her

sister Margaret met Mr. Wilcox and his wife while traveling in Germany.) Margaret was also invited to

Howards End, but stayed home to care for their 16-year-old brother Tibby who has hay fever. From Howards

End, Helen sends Margaret several letters describing the beautiful estate and the energetic, materialistic

Wilcoxes. Her last letter sends a shock through Margaret when she reads it: Helen has fallen in love with Paul

the youngest Wilcox son.

When Mrs. Wilcox dies not long afterward, she leaves a handwritten note behind asking that Howards End

be given to Margaret. But her pragmatic husband,Henry, a prominent businessman, and her greedy son Charles, a

struggling businessman, refuse to act on the matter and never mention it to Margaret. One night, Margaret and

Helen run into Henry, and they discuss the case of Leonard Bast; Henry warns them that Leonard's insurance

company is doomed to failure, and they advise him to find a new job. But poor Leonard, who associates the

Schlegels with all things cultural and romantic--he reads constantly, hoping to better himself--resents this

intrusion into his business life and accuses them of trying to profit from his knowledge of the insurance

industry.

Margaret and Henry develop a halting, gradual friendship. When the lease expires at Wickham Place,

the Schlegels begin looking for another house (their landlord wants to follow the general trend and replace their

house with a more profitable apartment building). Henry offers to rent them a house he owns in London, and

when he shows it to Margaret, he suddenly proposes to her. She is surprised by her happiness, and after

considering the proposal, she accepts.

Shortly before Margaret and Henry are scheduled to be married, Henry's daughter Eviemarries a man

named Percy Cahill; the wedding is held at a Wilcox estate near Wales. After the party, which Margaret finds

quite unpleasant, Helen arrives in a disheveled state, with the Basts in tow. She declares indignantly that Leonard

has left his old company, found a new job, and been summarily fired; he is now without an income. Helen

angrily blames Henry for his ill-considered advice. Margaret asks Henry to give Leonard a job, but when he sees

Jacky Bast, he realizes that he had an affair with her 10 years ago, when she was a prostitute in Cyprus. Margaret

forgives him for the indiscretion--it was before they even met--but she writes to Helen that there will be no job

for Leonard.

Helen and the Basts have retired to a hotel in town, and after Jacky goes to sleep, Helen

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