Discussion Forums - Classic Literature

Topic: Howard's End - chapters 23-33

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
  Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: Howard's End - chapters 23-33
Date Posted: 10/10/2008 6:44 PM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2008
Posts: 576
Back To Top

talk away!

Date Posted: 10/15/2008 9:00 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,931
Back To Top

Wow, what the hell is wrong with Helen?  Bringing the poor Basts all the way to the country?  Crashing the wedding?  What on earth did she expect to accomplish?  And giving Henry Wilcox so much blame for Leonard losing his position?  If anything, it was the Shlegels' fault for interfering.  How was Henry supposed to know that Leonard would lose his place and that Jacky had convinced him to marry her?  Obviously what Henry did to Jacky was shameful, but it was between him & Jacky and Meg.  It wasn't any of Helen's business.



Last Edited on: 10/17/08 4:26 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/17/2008 3:05 PM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2007
Posts: 702
Back To Top

I agree with most (maybe all) of what you wrote.  I've been reading in Texas, then again this morning in Montgomery, AL, and now I'm back at home in Dothan, AL.  I'm confused and am too lazy right now to look in the book.  Remind me--what did Leonard do to Jacky--I've missed that or already forgotten it.  Or did you mean Henry?

What's up with Helen taking off for foreign parts?  Is she so appalled that her sister was marrying an adulterous man?  I can understand that but don't quite get her leaving without talking to Meg about it. or about her leaving. 

I'm also disappointed that Meg seems to be putting all of her opinions, her keeping up with opinions, etc. on the back burner as she becomes what I guess she thinks that Henry wants her to be.

I stopped at these chapters because I knew that I wouldn't have time to post here.  Yay!  Now, I'll go on and read the next section.  I really am enjoying this book.

Vivian

Date Posted: 10/17/2008 4:27 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,931
Back To Top

Yes, I meant Henry.  My bad.

Something I've been wondering; how much does/did being "old maids" bother Meg & Helen?  On one hand, it leaves them free to do what they like, to spend their own money & live how they please.   Both certainly had the opportunity to marry, even if it wouldn't have been an ideal marraige.  Sometimes I think Meg made herself into what Henry wanted just so she could be a wife.  She refers to herself as an old maid several times, and I got the impression that it bothered her and also that she was angry with herself for letting it bother her.  What do you guys think?  I guess being unmarried wasn't such a stigma in Edwardian England, but it was still clearly abnormal.



Last Edited on: 10/17/08 4:31 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/22/2008 10:25 AM ET
Member Since: 2/21/2008
Posts: 310
Back To Top

I think she was so caught up in losing the home she was raised in, she also saw Henry's proposal as a way to achieve a permanent residence.  She was thinking about Howard's End at the time he proposed! "Had Mrs. Wilcox's drawing room looked thus in Howard's End?  Just as this thought entered Margaret's brain, Mr. Wilcox did ask her to be his wife...."  (Chapter 18)

She saw changes ahead, and I think deep down she realized this would be her opportunity to be married and to be mistress of her own home.  A permanent home.  She liked the idea of having place of ownership, where she could not be forced out.

I can relate to that.  I grew up in a home in California, but when I moved to New York, I hated apartment living.  When I married my husband we were able to save our money and buy our own home.  Back then, it was near impossible for a single woman to own her own property (I think it is still a bit uncommon even today!)  I think what the author is trying to say is Margaret is no fool.  While she may have more money-he has property-and this property she would love to live in.  She is not callous, but wise.

Date Posted: 10/24/2008 8:54 AM ET
Member Since: 2/21/2008
Posts: 310
Back To Top

Alright....

 

So I was surprised that Henry had an affair 10 years ago on the first wife.  The man is written as such an unemotional statue...can you say repressed?

Do you think Margaret should have forgiven him?  It did happened before she knew him.  Should she also feel betrayed?

Date Posted: 10/24/2008 3:54 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,931
Back To Top

If it was me, I'd feel a litte weird, because she knew Jacky a little bit, but it wouldn't really bother me because it happened years before we met.  But, from Meg's position, planning to marry Henry, it would be worrisome.  If a guy cheats on his first wife, why wouldn't he cheat on his second?  I think Meg considers that, but also weighs Henry's current situation in life and how his personality had changed as he grew older.

Date Posted: 10/24/2008 7:29 PM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2007
Posts: 702
Back To Top

Vanessa, with what you said about Henry's personality changing as he grew older, I'm assuming that Meg might think that he certainly didn't have enough passion for another extramarital affair!   But, you know, I'm wondering if good ole Meg didn't think that she could keep him interested (intellectually, certainly) more than his first wife.  Of course, intelligence is probably not what he was seeking with Jacky.

Date Posted: 10/29/2008 8:11 AM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
Back To Top

Back then, it was near impossible for a single woman to own her own property (I think it is still a bit uncommon even today!)

I respectfully disagree Deborah! I bought my first house in my mid twenties before I married and so did some of my single girlfriends. We all had good paying careers and looked at buying a home as an investment like our 401Ks. My husband moved into my house after we married and we lived there until our family outgrew the home and we turned a nice profit on the home upon selling which gave us more $$ for a downpayment on our next home.:-)

To me, more happened in this set of chapter than the previous ones.

Vanessa, I agree that Helen handled the whole Bast thing terribly. Helping them was great but schlepping them all the way to Oniton was just wrong. She likes to cause drama in the guise of being altruistic!

Henry bothers me. He changes direction too often and does not/cannot/will not (?) take others feelings into consideration.

I think it was odd Helen and Tibby do not attend Evie's wedding. If it was me I would be go just to support my sister and represent her family.

The Henry and Jacky affair was a surprise for me!! Henry seems too stuffy to have had a mistress like her . . . an unusual combination.

Henry was so upset when he lost his first wife yet he seems somewhat indifferent to Meg. At the end of this set of chapters he does seem to be developing more feelings for Meg.

Deborah, I totally agree with you about Meg's desire for a permanent residence. After both her parents died she and her siblings still had the home they had all lived in together. To be parentless at such a young age would be difficult and I believe Wickham Place was a place of stability for Meg in an ever changing world. She really, really wants a permanent residence and she definitely sees Henry as the ticket to that. Then he lets Oniton and she is peeved, for good reason.

I could go on but I've written a lot, like I mentioned, so much happened in this set of chapters. One last note, I found this amusing and fairly accurate. Toward the end of chapter 26, regarding Meg's thoughts on marriage, husbands and wives. Now she understood why some women prefer influence to rights. Mrs. Plynlimmon, when condemning suffragettes, had said: "The woman who can't influence her husband to vote the way she wants ought to be ashamed of herself." That's what women had to do back then, before they obtained voting rights and I admit that I know how to get my husband to do some things without him realizing my hidden agenda :-)

 

Date Posted: 10/29/2008 10:21 AM ET
Member Since: 2/21/2008
Posts: 310
Back To Top

Thanks for your comments!

I agree, Henry does keep changing his direction and has no clue how his comments and advice effects people.  While a respectable man, he does tend to drive me crazy.  In may ways it reminds me of my boss at work (but that is another ball of yarn...)

I thought it was odd as well that Tibby and Helen did not attend the wedding as well.  It would have shown support to Margaret and her choice of husband.  Even if Helen did not like Henry, it would have shown good manners.  Of course, she did the exact opposite.

Henry and Jacky---there's a plot twist!  Didn't see it coming either, and it made me want to keep reading to see what would happen.

 

Sheila-good for you on buying your own home!  I am glad that someone stepped up and said "I did it on my own!"  :-)

As for women who can influence a husband to do things, I hope I can influence mine to rake the leaves in the backyard this weekend... lol

 

Deb

 

 

Date Posted: 10/29/2008 2:05 PM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2008
Posts: 576
Back To Top

I agree with Shiela that a lot happened in this section.

The more I hear of Helen the more irritated with her I get. She just seems so....flighty. Like one minute she's acting half way decent and then she flies off and crashes Evie's wedding with the Basts and is making a general mess of things! Also, for a family who is so intillectual the schlegels don't really communicate with eachother.  Also, I think it's interesting, that even before they are married, Meg takes Henry's side in the Bast issue.

I didn't really see the Jacky thing coming either. However, I don't think I would have done what Meg did. I don't think I would have married Henry.  There have been so many red flags that you think that she would get the hint already that he's not the best of men. I also think that her plan to change him and "help" him will be futile. I don't see Henry, or any of the Wilcox's changing ever. Also, I agree with you Vanessa, if he's cheated before, what's to stop him cheating again?

I get the feeling with Meg that she's been swimming upstream the entire novel. She never seems to win, even with her own family.  I think she accepted the marriage proposal because she was lonely and worried about what was to become of her as she continued to get older. Still, I can't help but think that she would have been better off with the "ninnies" that she mentioned proposed to her before. Henry seems like he will bring nothing but heartache.  He doesn't value anything that she does, and I'm not entirely sure that she understands him nearly as much as she thinks she does.

I do like that we're seeing a little more of Tibby. When Helen is crying to him at Oxford it's nice to see that he does care...maybe not enough to do much...but we did see a little more than indifference from him.  I also think it's interesting that he cares very little for the things he is taking great pains to learn.  Like the Chinese. He seems to hate it but yet he's studying really hard to learn it.  Tibby is an interesting character.

Date Posted: 10/30/2008 8:46 AM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
Back To Top

Yes, I'm glad Forster is continuing to develop Tibby. Nice to see he is not as one-dimensional as he was depicted in earlier chapters.