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Compare Margaret and Henry’s reaction Essay

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Family values are important for both the Schlegels and Wilcox’s throughout the novel. Forster has made these values different for the two families to create tension and different views and opinions on subject matters. Helens pregnancy is a controversial matter, through which Forster shows the different attitudes of Margaret and Henry. Henry takes a male view and thinks practically rather than emotionally. He thinks to the future this shows level-headedness. “Troublesome business ahead of us”. In thinking to the future, he wants to find the underlying cause of everything that has happened and asks “was your sister wearing a wedding ring?” and “I am now obliged to ask for the name of her seducer”.

This shows that he does care, its just his intentions are different as he’s looking out for Helen and Margaret’s emotional state. He also says “he [Charles] has at once gone to call on your brother”. This shows he is trying to use his initiative and try to get to the bottom of the problems as quickly as he feels he can. However, through all his practicality he does show sensitivity. “Noting her [Margaret] colour, he still grew more kind” This is said when he is questioning Margaret about Helens pregnancy.

This scene is only between Margaret and Henry, so although he probably does care about Helen, we only see his feelings towards Margaret. He also did not want Margaret getting hurt by being tangled up in other people’s problems. “I knew you weren’t fit for it. I wish I hadn’t taken you”. We also see a new side to his character- contradictory. He says “Must pay heavily for his misconduct” He says this after Margaret suggests that maybe the person who Helen slept with may already be married. This controversial as he had an affair with Jacky whilst he was married to Ruth.

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It is an unusual occurrence for Margaret to confront Henry. It is a challenge for him as Ruth never used to do this, and Margaret has not don it in the past until now. He deals with it by bringing in Charles saying it is his business if Helen sleeps in Howards End, as it is his future house. By doing this Henry tries to avoid direct confrontation. Margaret starts by approaching Henry and the matter calmly and subjectively, but by the end of the chapter she just wants Henry to see how she feels. This shows how passionately she feels for Helen, and how family is more important to her then anything.

We see a new Margaret at the start of the chaper, she is reserved and lets Henry control the conversation “I really came to ask a favour about Howards End”. At the end of the chapter, Henry accuses Margaret of using “blackmail” towards him, as he accuses him of the same thing Helen has done in out casting herself from society. This shows how her character develops in this chapter. She is back to the way she was when she and Helen were living together. This shows how much influence they have over each other’s lives.

Margaret tries to persuade Henry to allow them to stop at Howards End using a variety of devices; she first tries to reason with him, and then uses sarcasm and finally blackmail. She approaches the matter differently from Henry, she thinks for the moment rather than looking for the long term. She is more concerned about Helens current mental well being than how it may affect her in the future. “I never even asked her who seduced her”. This shows the bond between Margaret and her sister. They did not feel the need for asking questions like that.

Margaret wanted to catch up, and rekindle the trust and friendship than find out what happened. Although the attitudes of Margaret and Henry are on the surface very different, their final intentions are the same- the well being of Helen. Margaret takes a more emotional, loving approach to it whereas Henry is more set back from the situation and is looking in from the outside and looks to the future. This is consistent of the characteristics shown in the rest of the novel. Forster wants us to see how genders differ, and how values affect relationships.

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