Forster and Virginia Woolf were the literary leaders of the Bloomsbury Group, a circle of intellectuals who gathered regularly in London in the first two decades of the twentieth century to discuss art and aesthetics.
This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. Please help improve it by removing unnecessary details and making it more concise. June Learn how and when to remove this template message The story revolves around three families in England at the beginning of the 20th century: The idealistic, intelligent Schlegel sisters seek to help the struggling Basts and to rid the Wilcoxes of some of their deep-seated social and economic prejudices.
The Schlegels had briefly met and befriended the Wilcoxes when both families were touring Germany. Helen, the younger Schlegel daughter, then visits the Wilcoxes at their country house, Howards End. There, she is romantically attracted to the younger Wilcox son, Paul; they become engaged in haste but soon regret their decision.
The engagement is broken off by mutual consent, despite a somewhat awkward intervention by Helen's Aunt Juley. Later that year, the Wilcoxes move to London, taking an apartment close to the Schlegels' home.
Margaret Schlegel befriends the Wilcox matriarch, Ruth. Howards End is Ruth's most prized possession; she feels a strong connection to its values and history. Her husband and children do not share her feelings for the old house.
Perceiving that Margaret is a kindred spirit, Ruth invites her to visit Howards End but circumstances prevent the visit from taking place. Margaret is unaware that Ruth is gravely ill and that Ruth regards her as an ideal owner of Howards End after she dies.
On her deathbed, Ruth writes a note bequeathing Howards End to Margaret; when the widowed Henry Wilcox reads this note, it causes him great consternation.
Henry and his children burn the note without telling Margaret about her inheritance. A few years later, Henry Wilcox and Margaret Schlegel renew their acquaintance. Their friendship blossoms into romance and Henry proposes to Margaret, who accepts. It is apparent that their personalities could not be more different.
The courageous, idealistic, compassionate, high-minded and romantically inclined Margaret tries to get the rigid, unsentimental, staunchly rational Henry to open up more, to little effect. Henry's children do not look upon her engagement to their father with a friendly eye.
Evie, the daughter, soon to be married, is largely concerned with her own affairs; Paul, the younger son, lives and works in Nigeria. The main opposition comes from the elder son, Charles, and his wife Dolly, who are civil enough to conceal their hostility to Margaret, yet really see her as an intruder, posing a threat to their own ambitions.
Most of all, they fear any claim she could one day have to Howards End. The sisters encourage Leonard Bast, an acquaintance, to quit his job as a clerk and seek employment elsewhere, having learned from Henry that the insurance company Leonard works for is likely to go bankrupt.
A few weeks later, Henry reverses his opinion, but it is too late. Leonard has already resigned his modest yet safe position, thereby losing whatever precarious hold he had on financial security, and his job-seeking efforts come to naught.
An additional complication is that Leonard is living with but not married to Jacky, a troubled, vulnerable "fallen" woman for whom he feels responsible. Helen continues to try to help him, ostensibly out of guilt for having interfered with his life in the first place, but also perhaps because she is secretly attracted to him.
Soon it all goes terribly wrong: Helen encounters the starving Basts and, appalled by the state they are in, brings them to Evie Wilcox's wedding celebration, whereupon Henry recognises Jacky as his former mistress.
He flees from the scene, breaking off his engagement to Margaret. His first thought is that the Schlegels and Basts have concocted a dark plot to entrap and expose him, but he later calms down and tells Margaret the truth.
Ten years previously, when he was on business in Cyprus, despite being married, he seduced Jacky and then carelessly abandoned her, leaving her on foreign soil with no money and no way to return home. Margaret, dreadfully disturbed by this, confronts Henry about his ill-treatment of Jacky.
Henry is embarrassed and ashamed, but unrepentant.
Such are the ways of the world, to his mind. Margaret, for various reasons, wishes to save the relationship and forgives him.A Room with a View is a novel by E.M. Forster that was first published in Type or paste a DOI name into the text box. Click Go. Your browser will take you to a Web page (URL) associated with that DOI name.
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