Howard's End Themes

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The major theme of Howards End is connection—connection between the private and the public life, connection between individuals—and how difficult it is to create and sustain these connections. Howards End focuses mainly on two families: the Schlegels, who represent intellectualism, imagination, and idealism—the inner life of the mind—and the Wilcoxes, who represent English practicality, expansionism, commercialism, and the external world of business and politics. For the Schlegels, personal relationships precede public ones and the individual is more important than any organization. For the Wilcoxes, the reverse is true; social formalities and the rules of the business world reign supreme.

Through the marriage of Margaret Schlegel and Henry Wilcox, these two very different worlds are connected. Margaret, unlike her wildly idealistic sister Helen, moves toward an understanding of the Wilcoxes. Helen's initial encounter with the Wilcoxes proves disastrous, but Margaret begins to realize that many...

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This section contains 1,033 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Howard's End Study Guide
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Howard's End from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.