Friday, August 13, 2010

Howards End

I just finished re-reading “Howards End” by E. M. Forester. Once upon a time I thought that this book was about social classes, social injustices, antiquated relations between men and women… Reading again, I find the book is about the concept of home and how the Basts, Wilcoxes and Schlegals find, make or lose home.
Mrs. Wilcox’s house – Howards End – with its ancient wych-elm leaning protectively over it and a vine covering part of its walls was more than mere real estate, more than the inheritable value of the dirt upon which it was built; it was her home and being comfortable with both her person and her home Mrs. Wilcox was able to extend this sense of home to protect her family and loved friends.

After her passing, the Wilcoxes do not realize that they have lost home even though the deed to the property is comfortably, legally in their hands. The Schlegals’ childhood home is had on a 30-year lease and the land owner has decided to tear the house down when the lease expires so the family is left on the edge of having to make a new home with no experience at having done so. The Basts are on the edge of vagrancy with the loss of any penny.

All three are followed either to a new sense of home, or to the edge of society where they fall off and disappear forever. Pick this one up, do: You will not be sorry.

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