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hayley reed's picture

Who is Margaret?

As I continue to read in “Howard’s End” I find Henry and Margaret’s relationship more and more intriguing. Margaret does not love Mr. Wilcox yet, she often gives into him and will do whatever he wants for them. On one particular occasion, “She protested no more. Whether Henry was right or wrong, he was most kind, and she knew of no other standard by which to judge him. She must trust him absolutely.” Pg. 279 Her relationship with her husband is unique because while she does not love him she does value everything he says. In fact, she often gives into what Henry wants whether or not she agrees with his decision.

This particular aspect of her relationship struck me as strikingly different than the liberal persona she often portrays. Margaret has the gift to observe society and address what is wrong it. Throughout the novel, the readers are graced with Margaret’s social commentaries. The epitome of these comments is made when she is riding in a car with Charles and proceeds to jump out of the car while it is in emotion. She makes the observation that “Ladies sheltering behind men, men sheltering behind servants- the whole system’s wrong, and she must challenge it.” Pg. 213 Margaret astutely recognizes that the entire class system is delicately interwoven and is based on using one’ status against others. It is in situations like this one that I assume Margaret is different from the women in her time because she is willing to stick out of the norm and argue a position that is not popularly accepted. But, then all I have to do is look at Margaret’s relationship with her husband to realize that she is not the entirely liberal person she appears to be in public.

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