Essay on The Novel ' Howards End '

2380 Words Mar 2nd, 2015 10 Pages
The novel Howards End by E.M. Forster showcases many examples of strong female characters. Margaret and Helen Schlegal live on their own and take care of themselves. Then there is the character of Ruth Wilcox. Mrs. Wilcox is an important matriarchal force in the novel. Not only does she lead her family, she also is a great influence on the Schlegal girls. When she passes, a conflict arises over who will take over who will replace her. The ending of the novel resolves this conflict by elevating Margaret to this matriarchal position. The loss of the matriarch creates a void in the Wilcox’s life, in which they become victims of modernization; their morality is only restored when Margaret takes on the position of caring for the family and caring for Howards End.
The character of Ruth Wilcox demands respect, and is given respect and admiration by the people around her. She captivates the Schlegal girls. They first meet the Wilcox’s while vacationing in Germany, but they only start to get to know the family later, as portrayed in the novel. Helen is the first to spend time with the Wilcox family; she stays with them over the summer at Howards End. In a letter to her sister, Helen Schlegal describes the experience of living with the Wilcoxs. She writes, “Mrs. Wilcox, if quieter than in Germany, is sweeter than ever, and I never saw anything like her steady unselfishness, and the best of it is that the others do not take advantage of her” (4-5). Mrs. Wilcox devotes her life to her…

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