Presentation Title

“The Rights of Property Itself”: Homes, Society, and the Inevitable in Howards End

Faculty Mentor

Claire Phillips

Start Date

23-11-2019 9:00 AM

End Date

23-11-2019 9:15 AM

Location

Markstein 201

Session

oral 1

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

humanities_letters

Abstract

It is accepted that E. M. Forster’s Howards End is a battle for contested ground: literally, the titular home and, figuratively, the future of modern England. However, this focus may be flawed as it places the power in the hands of the people instead of the homes. I argue that, in Howards End, it is the homes that have the most power and that they take a position analogous to societal structures in the novel. I will examine the homes in several ways. First, there is the power of homes in the structure and movement of the plot. Second, there are the inseparable connections between people and their homes as they are shapers of identity and ideology. It is also this connection that blends the will of people with the more elusive will of homes themselves. Third, homes, in conjunction with a rapidly urbanizing and uncontrollable city, have the power to create or destroy life and, more importantly, this is what creates the sense of “flux” that prevails in the novel. Finally, each character has different levels of control over their homes: control over the structure, only the interior, or none at all. What these lenses through which to look at Howards End create is a world in which people lose out to homes. This is what creates an underlying sense of anxiety and claustrophobia Forster conveys: it is the fear, and possibly the fact, that our buildings, cities, and homes were built for us but shall inevitably overtake us.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Nov 23rd, 9:00 AM Nov 23rd, 9:15 AM

“The Rights of Property Itself”: Homes, Society, and the Inevitable in Howards End

Markstein 201

It is accepted that E. M. Forster’s Howards End is a battle for contested ground: literally, the titular home and, figuratively, the future of modern England. However, this focus may be flawed as it places the power in the hands of the people instead of the homes. I argue that, in Howards End, it is the homes that have the most power and that they take a position analogous to societal structures in the novel. I will examine the homes in several ways. First, there is the power of homes in the structure and movement of the plot. Second, there are the inseparable connections between people and their homes as they are shapers of identity and ideology. It is also this connection that blends the will of people with the more elusive will of homes themselves. Third, homes, in conjunction with a rapidly urbanizing and uncontrollable city, have the power to create or destroy life and, more importantly, this is what creates the sense of “flux” that prevails in the novel. Finally, each character has different levels of control over their homes: control over the structure, only the interior, or none at all. What these lenses through which to look at Howards End create is a world in which people lose out to homes. This is what creates an underlying sense of anxiety and claustrophobia Forster conveys: it is the fear, and possibly the fact, that our buildings, cities, and homes were built for us but shall inevitably overtake us.