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Howard's End Essay

1396 words - 6 pages

Connecting Society As a reader opens up the novel Howards End, the fist words he sees are slewed across the page with little apparent meaning: "Only connect"¦" Yet, after another two hundred pages and the events occurring as two very different families collide, this phrase has evolved into a aphorism fully comprehensible and infused with meaning."Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height, live in fragments no longer. Only connect, and the beast and the monk, robbed of the isolation that is life to either, will die" (174).The idea of "connection" is paramount in driving the events in Howards End. The author, E.M. Forster, provides several motifs in which he compares two different aspects and infers that a connection needs to be made between each feature of that motif. Forster uses some of the more prominent motifs; England contrasted with Germany, the suburban environment contrasted with a rural environment, and the lower classes contrasted with the higher classes to illustrate and explain his theme; using Margaret as a vessel to exemplify why and how only an individual that has these ideas already balanced can connect them. In the terms of plutocracy and intelligentsia, Forster placed (respectively) England and Germany at opposite ends of the spectrum; only Margaret's blend of the two cultures is able to pull them together in a stable balance. Forster paints a scene of England as a country limited by its inability to enjoy art and caught up in its drive for improvement. "England ceased to be a stable agrarian nation and had become an expanding industrial and commercial empire. Great cities had been built, and great fortunes made; the rich had grown more powerful and the poor more wretched. Who owned this England, so right and so impoverished, who is responsible of the sufferings that industrialism had brought?" (7). Totally unconcerned with beauty, art, or nature, "old England" is being stripped bear and made into an efficient industrial machine soon to takeover the entire country."Edwardian England was a divided society, countryside disconnected from city, business disconnected from culture, rich disconnected from poor. Prose disconnected from passion, monk and beast, relations of men and women are an eternal problem of connection. Disconnections that are social, cultural, and historical simply imply human characteristics with no programmatic solution to offer" (XI).Whereas both Forster and Margaret agree that England needs some of Germany's connection, it is clear that retaining some of these qualities is necessary to maintain a balance. While England is portrayed as a cold, disconnected country, Germany is portrayed as a warm, artsy land of happiness. Mrs. Munt explains, ""˜The Germans,' she said, "˜are too thorough, and this is all very well sometimes, but at other times it does not do.'" Each country and...

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