• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Forster's examination of contemporaneous issues pervades the novel in multifarious layers - What is your response to this statement?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Howards End By: E.M. Forster Yonatan Jay Forster's examination of contemporaneous issues pervades the novel in multifarious layers. What is your response to this statement? 'Only connect...' Howards End is E.M. Forster's symbolic exploration of the social, economic, and philosophical conditions in Edwardian culture. Written in 1910, at a time when Britain's industrial ascendancy was dwindling, and Germany's expansion filling the vacuum, socio-politico Anglo-German relations were particularly volatile, culminating in the Entente Cordiale in 1904. Although Howards End is a "fin de siecle" novel it lacks the European rational elucidation found in similar novels at the time, like Thomas Mann's "The White Mountain". Thus, Forster set out to address the question critic Lionel Trilling posed, "Who shall inherit England?"1 With reference to the above question , Forster explores the milieu of three dissimilar groups in society, each of which epitomizes a particular social class-consciousness: the literary, cultural Schlegel family, who symbolize the idealistic and intellectual aspect of the upper classes; the materialistic, pragmatic Wilcox family, who embody the "unyielding" English work ethic, bourgeoisie, and conventional social morality; and the impoverished Bast family, headed by a lower-middle-class insurance clerk who earnestly believes books, such as Ruskin, will salvage him from social and economic desolation. Forster's fascination for Hegelian opposites permeates the novel throughout; hence the dichotomy between the working class and the noveau-rich´┐Ż, middleclass values and labour class destitution and the liaison between the rural environment and urban isolation. To evoke the recurrent themes that are incessantly inferred right the way through the novel, I think it optimal to examine a specific scene. ...read more.

Middle

In this regard, life is not merely a quest for money; undeniably it is an important element of life, because it enables leisure and security, but there is more to life. Then again, Helen appreciates this primarily because she has money: It does no good for the doomed Leonard Bast. The doctrine of Social Darwinism resonates through the novel spasmodically. It is essentially, the transference of the thesis of evolution. The disparity of events involving Mr. Wilcox and Leonard is fundamentally Darwinist in nature. When Mr. Wilcox imparts bad advice about the Porphyrion Corporation Leonard resigns. As a result he took office in a bank, and becomes redundant after a cutback in personnel. When confronted Mr. Wilcox audaciously claims "Its part of the battle of life"9. Like Leonard he is unable to connect and becomes a symbol of spiritual deprivation. The tough survive, the frail fall. Forster gave lectures to the working middle class like Leonard and he incorporated his experiences in Howards End. The Wilcox's and Schlegel's are not doomed but fated to survive. Henry Wilcox epitomises the nouveau riche and the established "superman". He "doesn't care for culture" is "obtuse" and frequently disingenuous. His cosmopolitanism is exploited, to express Forster's repugnance of English reticence and the English cult of masculine dignity. In reference, J.B. Bury wrote 'The idea of progress', which likens Henry Wilcox to the notion of 'perfectibility'. Margaret attempts to reconcile the opposites of materialism and spiritualism in her relationship with Henry as the "beast and the monk". "Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. ...read more.

Conclusion

Complementary to the 'inaudible' lower class, Margaret's notes the "clipped words, formless sentences, potted expressions of approval or disgust"18 in urban civilisation. Thus language is not only in the narrative as an expression of the characters diversity, it is integrated by Forster within a whole social panorama, and exposed as a fundamental element of human existence. To Forster, who believed that "the character of the English is essentially middle-class," it was people like Leonard and the Wilcox's aspiring to wealth, political power, and culture who would eventually "inherit" England, not the dying aristocratic class of the Schlegel's or the working classes. Similarly there is evidence in Robert Musil's book "A Man without Qualities" which depicts the steady decline of the Austrian-Hungarian aristocratic society's 'fin de siecle' environment. Thus Forster used Leonard's connection with the Schlegel's as the social conscience of the book. As critic Wilfred Stone wrote, "Just as [Leonard] stands on the edge of the social abyss, so he affords the Schlegel's a glimpse into it - increasing both their 'panic and emptiness'19 and their guilt over class and money." Ultimately, Howards End is the most optimistic expression of Forster's unique vision, 'a meditation on the future', and a sensibility that transcends the temporal confines of his novel. Its richly drawn characters and the struggles they face - to maintain human connection in an increasingly depersonalized society, and to find a spiritual home in the world is still as current as they were at the beginning of the twentieth century. Word Count: 2550 approx. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Sociology essays

  1. The Go-between, while a powerful story of a young boy’s premature involvement in an ...

    in after life" doors that surely cannot be opened if one was in her class. As we find out in the novel Leo lacks a father figure in his life. Whilst at Brandam hall he meets two men whom he looks up to, one being from the upper social class and the other being from the working class.

  2. Money and Power still remains with Caucasians

    study and if there are any changes needed to be made one out of the six will to spot it. Results All six of my questionnaires came back, which means that I can carry out a bigger survey, as I know I will get returns.

  1. Sociological imagination - Notes

    internet dating, though there are still things common in internet relationships such as socio-economic background and educational level. Is it also commonsense when we think of the law- is a law in place in the interest of all? Who makes the law and in who's interest is the law?

  2. LABOR MARKET ISSUES

    all of their idle capacity and are moving towards potential output so to increase their output, the prices must also rise and cause per-unit production cost to increase. (Kevin, 1995) If the total spending increases above the full-employment level then the economy is in the classical range.

  1. "No matter what class we are born into we are all equal under the ...

    I believe a reason behind the judgement of the judge would be due to the fact that judges tend to be elderly white conservative males from middle-upper classes. This means their perception of the world is altered due to being financial stable, which there is nothing wrong with.

  2. "The novel is important to the history of women's search for a public voice" ...

    He presented women fulfilling their ambition in the only way open to them, and we wonder whether they are really more vicious than men who fulfil theirs by business deals or political manoeuvring" (70). Reading the above quote and looking again at the preface to Moll Flanders, where he clearly

  1. Discerning the Self: Reviewing Karen DeMeester's "Trauma and Recovery in Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway"

    This kind of absolute binary opposition not only negates the truth that the subjectivity of men is constructed by both the inward psychology and the outward social ideology, but simplifies the complex of mankind. Human beings are sort of a social animal.

  2. 'The Simple Bard, unbroke by rules or Art'. (Burns epigraph to the Kilmarnockedition). How ...

    life of spontaneity, 'They zig-zag on' (which also indicatively alludes to the Habbie stanza itself), again there is little heed paid to the consequences of old age. Every reference to anxiety is conveyed off handedly as if it were a mere trifle: When ance life's day draws near the gloamin,

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work