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"Howard's End" sets up the opposition between the cultured Schlegels and the industrious Wilcoxes. Simplistically, each family represents the division within society at the time, whether to embrace the outward form of change in motor cars and encroaching tenements or to hold onto the land and the responsibility and feelings contained within it. Forster also makes use of associations and symbols to further the reader's understanding of a greater meaning, such as the teutonic assocation with the Schlegels or the description of Mrs. Bast's photograph to suggest her occupation. Still, the theme of connection found in its famous epigraph "Only connect... (the prose to the passion)" is woven well throughout and sometimes surprisingly so.
"A Passage..." is Forster's greatest work, and rightfully so because in it he is most ambitious, adding elements of imperialism and religion to that of relationships between people. While the novel is not a political novel per se, it justifies the interpretation through its mostly sympathetic treatment of the Indians and the absurdity of British bureacracy in a culture beyond its understanding. I assert that this is one of Forster's more pessimistic novels with an appropriate ending, but my colleagues assert the opposite, that it makes claims to the hope of connection. I leave it to you to conclude for yourself. Forster also gives a good foretaste of the post-modernist technique, with his attempt to show that the "many-headed monster" of India or any culture cannot be adequately treated by a single perspective.
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I don't mean to ruin it for anyone, but the entire premise of this never-ending book seems to be that people should clean themselves. I don't know what the other two positive reviewers were thinking. Perhaps they are chums with the THREE (you're kidding, right?) people it took to write this.
Hey guys, next time at least try to work a knock-knock joke into the mix...
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