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Howard's End : ‘Only Connect’

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Introduction

HOWARDS END: 'Only Connect' 'Only Connect' is the epigraph that Forster choose to give to Howards End, and this can be overall seen to be a fitting one as the impact of these two words is portentous. By firstly using a critical method we can acknowledge that the phrase although ambiguous is somewhat penetrating and fundamental. The capitalisation of the two separate words show it to be an inscription upon the reader, as it presents the complete GOAL of the novel. The 'Only' forms a stress which places an emphasis on the following word 'Connect'. The 'Only' therefore is unique, as it suggests there is only one singular role of the novel and that is to 'Connect', thus propounding that there is a solitary definition as to the 'Connect'. While the 'Only' speaks in a direct manner, its direction is towards the ambiguous, which leaves the reader a great deal of self-determination within the novel, as the epigraph has simply formed a basis upon which to judge the characters instead of producing a compound summation of the novel. This maxim does not contain the usual clarity, balance and polish that an epigraph has come to depict, therefore inferring to us that perhaps the maxim is not in reference to the novel, but instead to the audience, therefore 'Only Connect' consequently can be perceived not only as a declaration but also as a question. Is Forster placing the parameters upon which not only to judge the novel, but also to view ourselves? Have we 'Connected'? ...read more.

Middle

unable to speak of 'Only Connect' in A Passage to India, and so there is evidence that what he wrote in Two Cheers for Democracy - "I hate the idea of causes, and if I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country" - is bearing fruit. Forster therefore tries to provide a duality, as concepts of the characters natural surroundings are incorporated into their characters, The Schlegels are part German, and so more culture can be seen in them, whereas Henry is the modern late Victorian man, so captivated by money, and social standing. Leonard however is a true representative of England as F. Scott Fitzgerald noted that "England is the people", shown by Forster using terms such as "Comrades" and "Our race" when in reference to him. One of the felt tensions in the novel therefore is the fear of war between Germany and England. While the issue of 'Connection' in the physical is fairly obvious, it is the spiritual aspects that create a more definite outcome to the novel. While Mrs Wilcox is only featured briefly in the text, she is an important influence as her spirit while rooted in Howards End is essential to Margaret, who attempts to understand her mysterious authority. Mrs Wilcox embodies a natural inheritance, she provides a notion of a simple truth, that One can only live, and then life must be so frailly past on, in this case from her to Margaret, as seen through her dying note, indicating that "Margaret Schlegel is to have Howards End". ...read more.

Conclusion

She is suggesting that Henry only utilises one area of his emotions and thought, as he is too proud to forgive, he prefers not to connect, so then he does not have to face the consequences and the reality of his actions, it is a case of ignorance being bliss. While he needed the support from Margaret when he had been exposed, he is unwilling to succour another, and so Margaret is attempting to sever his isolation and halt his detachment from reality. Margaret's ultimatum is a means of predicting the end of the novel, as through Henry's stubbornness to connect, his son is found guilty of manslaughter and so Henry suffers a breakdown, where he is forced to connect, however due to his uncompromising attitude Leonard Bast was killed. It was his selfishness and inability to feel remorse, which lead to his eventual breakdown. The fault of Forster is simply that he had a conscience. He was unable to provide a hallucinatory sense of consciousness, which would show us the actual rhythms that guide the mind. Instead Forster constructed a conversation with his audience, enabling him to leave his novel open, so shying away from responsibility and merely being the incinuator not the revolutionary. He enabled his readership to complete the text, as he was unable to compose his true emotions. Therefore the concept of 'Only Connect' within the book is substantial, within life is obligatory but in both cases is essentially impossible to achieve. ?? ?? ?? ?? Ken David Burton Stronach Howards End by E. M. Forster ...read more.

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