Howards End and Social Class

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In the case of Leonard Bass who was a significantly poor man, eating beef tongue and pineapple jelly for dinner, (Forester 41 ) and running after Miss Schlemiel when she accidental took his umbrella at the concert (Forester 27), he was always trying to achieve higher social standing by associating himself with wealthy people at concerts, or reading books that the wealthy read, or trying to attain a good status job. Leonard once thought “We are not concerned with the very poor,” (Forester 35) because that is how he wanted to be able to be.

Leonard wanted to be able to achieve the status of not having to worry about how he was going to pay for his next meal, or how he would take care of his eventual wife Jacky. After the initial meeting with the Colleges, they invite Leonard over for tea, even though they know that he’s poor. Helen, Lemonade’s eventual lover, and umbrella stealer, does crack jokes at his expense because they do have the money it takes not to worry about an old umbrella that has holes in it, unlike

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Leonard (Forester 32-33) which shows that he is of the lower class because he cannot afford an umbrella and that is what it takes to make one a gentleman (Forester 35). At least two years after this incident, the Colleges and Leonard happen upon each other again, by way of his now wife, Jacky showing up at the Colleges house thinking her husband was there because of Margarita’s calling card given to Leonard when Helen stole his umbrella.

The day after this incident, Leonard shows up at their house and tells the Colleges that he had left, and Jacky thought he was there, and they proceeded to talk about kooks like “Stevenson Prince Otto,” among others things, such as the walk Leonard took in the woods when he was missing from Jacky (Forester 85-87). Helen and Leonard eventually get so close in their relationship that he has an affair with her and gets her pregnant. While this is going on, Margaret has also found herself a husband, Mr..

Henry Wilcox, former husband to the late Mrs.. Wilcox, from an estranged family friendship. Mr.. Wilcox does not really like Leonard for the fact that he is poor and thinks that he has questionable interests outside of his marriage (Forester 107). Jacky, who is found out to be an old mistress of Mr.. Willow’s adds an embarrassment factor to Margaret and Henrys relationship, and he tries to let her out of the engagement though she does not want out (Forester 166-167).

Once Margaret and Henry are married, Helen runs away because she does not want her family to know she is pregnant. She then gets tricked into coming home and revealing that she is in fact almost ready to give birth, because Margaret is worried about her (Forester 208). When Charles Wilcox, Margarita’s step son, and Hellene tepee nephew finds out that Leonard “seduced” her, thinking she had no say in the matter, Charles wanted only to “thrash him within an inch of his life,” (Forester 230) though Charles kills Leonard by an accident.

With Charles saying Leonard died of a heart attack, and the police deciding differently, Charles goes to jail while Helen is left to raise the baby herself. Now that Hellene baby boy is without a father, no matter how questionable he may be, he will grow up in the Schlemiel and Wilcox household at Howard End surrounded by the families combined wealth. Henry Wilcox decides along with the consensus of his children, that Margaret will inherit Howard End, and when Margaret dies, Helen and Lemonade’s child will inherit Howard End (Forester 242).

Though Leonard tries extremely hard to raise his social standing and his class, he does not achieve it in his lifetime. In the end, he does set up the stage for his child to start off in a wealthier and in a higher class standing than he ever was. Lemonade’s bastard child will inherit from both the Schlemiel family and the Wilcox family, making a significantly high jump up from his father’s social lass, simply because of who his mother is. Della Justice May, the subject of Tamari Linen’s article “Up From The Holler” voiced that “If your goal is to become .. A very important person, you can’t start way back on the continuum, because you have too much to make up in one lifetime. You have to make up the distance you can in your lifetime so that your kids can then make up the distance in their lifetime,” meaning that you can do everything in power to gain wealth and class, but you yourself may not always be around to see it, but will be able to provide the base so your kids can reap the benefits ND they can continue to build on to the base, such as the case in Howard End, with Leonard and Hellene son.

Della Justice May never felt comfortable, even after she was rescued from foster care by her older, lawyer, cousin Joe Justice, who gave her the bit of raise of class that changed the rest of her life. After Della Justice May graduated from high school, she got accepted and attended Berea College, a college in Kentucky that focuses on low-income families that also has a no tuition guarantee for everyone who attends, no matter where they come from. Once graduated from Berea College, Della

Justice May went on to get a scholarship from the University of Kentucky Law School and along with her husband, Troy price; who went to graduate school for family studies, moved to Lexington and went to Law School (Lenin). Though she now has a stable and well-paying job at her Cousin Joey’s law firm, she still feels left out of the upper-class spectrum. Della Justice May voices “My stomach’s always in knots getting ready to go to a party, wondering if I’m wearing the right thing, if I’ll know what to do,” to Lenin, which is a big deal when you weren’t taught those things growing up.

I know from personal experience that saying the wrong thing, doing the wrong thing, or even wearing the wrong thing can make somebody think twice about why they invited you to the function you’re at. Della Justice May tries to make life easier for her two adopted kids who also her niece and nephew, by making sure they head to Wall-Mart for supplies when Anna has a school project, or make sure that Will has the opportunity to go to Boy Scouts and above all, she tries to make these opportunities and others like these, that weren’t available to her as a kid and previously unavailable to Will and Anna, available to them owe (Lenin).

Della Justice May says, in the attached audio/picture slide that is connected with Tamari Linen’s article “Up from the Holler,” that “They [the kids] don’t have the respect for education had. Saw my life as one I needed to get out of. They [the kids] like their life, and it’s pretty okay,” Della Justice says when talking about her adoptive children. Della Justice’s adopted children get to experience that freedom of not having to worry about making sure they don’t mess up in their school work and school life, because they are comfortable.

Will and Anna don’t have to worry about not getting into college because they failed a class in high school, or necessarily how they’re going pay for it. Both of their parents have decent jobs, and they get to grow up knowing what it’s like to not have to fret about having enough money to pay the electric bill. Just one generation before them, both Della Justice and her husband Joe had to worry about those things, how they were going to go to college, and how they would be able to live, and at least for Della Justice, she worried about getting out of that situation and not going back.

Going back one generation in Howard End, Leonard too, has to worry about paying his bills and even what he’s going to eat that night, though his son will never have those feelings, and just like Della Justice, Leonard wants to leave that situation behind, and these two occurrences are almost 100 apart from the other. This just furthers the fact that sometimes, social mobility can only be jumpstarted so much before the next generation has to take over and complete it.

In R. A. Scott-Sesame’s criticism from the Daily News in 1 910 of Howard End he writes, “only connect … ‘is Mr.. Forester’s motto,” (Scott-James 382) which in itself, is completely true. Forester gets these people to connect, but in ways where they really aren’t connecting. Leonard tries to connect with the Colleges and is welcomed in, but he still feels like the friend that they invite to the party because they feel sorry for him.

Scott-James goes on to say that “It is because they do not ‘connect’; because to write a novel near to nature on one hand, and true to the larger vision on the other requires tremendous labor Of thought making perception and wisdom fruitful; the fitting of the perception f little things with the perception of universal things; consistency, totality, connection. Mr..

Forester has written a connected novel,” (Scott-James 382-383) Scott-James believes that it is the perception of universal things, such as connection, that makes it look as though the people and families in Howard End are connecting, without actually connecting. Forester gives us the answer to “Who Shall Inherit England? ” The answer is the new generation; the new generation of young people who grow up rich, or around rich people and in that culture, such as Lemonade’s son. No matter where you are at in the world, he rich people will inherit the wealth.

It is possible to move yourself up the social ladder, like Della Justice May did, and still not feel comfortable as she did, and her children will inherit her hard work and reap the benefits of growing up in a higher social class than Della Justice did in her life. Someone like Leonard has to make small steps, and eventually like Lemonade’s son, they will get to a high rung on the ladder and be able to move themselves up.

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