Throughout the novel Howards End, E.M. Forster presents readers with a multitude of extremes, ranging from femininity vs masculinity, passion vs practicality, and maturity vs immaturity. These extremes appear to be completely irreconcilable. However, upon a closer look, it becomes apparent that Forster’s main point in describing these extremes is to work to bring them together, uniting them in one middle ground, or finding balance and proportion. This is accomplished through the behavior and attitudes of three essential characters; Helen Schlegel, Margaret Wilcox nee Schlegel, and Henry Wilcox.
Helen is a character who is the epitome of immaturity and passion. Throughout the novel, she is described as a flighty, unrealistic, young woman. She is quick to find trouble, but is even quicker in running away from those troubles. From the very beginning, Helen’s passion and immaturity is prevalent in the letter she sends to Margaret stating “I do not know what you will say: Paul and I are in love—the younger son who only came here Wednesday.” (5). Helen believes herself to be in love with a man after only knowing him for a few days. She is too immature and naïve to have felt an emotion such as love before. So when she is confronted with a man who she finds attractive, she allows herself to believe that they share a strong affection for each other, because, to her, it is the only explanation for the emotions she felt at the time. Helen’s immaturity and passion is proved more so in the fact that she becomes pregnant with Leonard’s child. Instead of asking for the help of her sister, or even informing her sister, Helen decides to hide this fact from her family. As the novel continues, however, Forster creates a balance in ...
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... what she could with him” (285), which was to take him to Howards End. Without this proportion in his life, Henry would have lost not only his son in prison, but his wife, Margaret, who could not live with a man so extreme in his views. Essentially, proportion and balance in life leads to his happiness.
Finding balance is an essential point to this novel, Howards End. Without balance, the characters are left in a world of extremes leading to their ultimate downfall. Forster wanted to convey to readers that extremes are dangerous, and that in order for a person to live, they had to find a balance and proportion in life. Forster ensures that his three characters, Helen, Margaret, and Henry, find this balance in order to have an enjoyable life at Howards End.
Forster, E.M. Howards End. 1910. New York: Penguin Group, 2000. N. pag. Print.
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