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The attempt to connect the two different worlds of money and ideals is a central theme in EM Forsters Howards End The concept of money is most strongly represented by the Wilcox family Idealism and intellectualism are the driving forces of the Schlegels especially the younger sister Helen Establishing the rainbow bridge page 187 between these two is Margaret Schlegel the novels protagonist The central relationship in the novel is between Henry Wilcox who has made his fortune through the rubber industry and the elder Schlegel sister Margaret The novel follows their courtship and consequent marriage through a journey of obstacles and revelations Henry Wilcox is driven by money and power with little time for culture and intellectual thought He is obtuse but also kindly Margaret is an intellectual who cares for the troubles of the world but cares most for the welfare of her siblings and her husband The other characters in the novel represent more extreme types Helen Margarets much loved younger sister is a bohemian idealist who responds passionately to situations Charles Wilcox is the most prosaic character The clerk Leonard Bast is tormented by a glimpse of societys privileged he is at the extreme verge of gentility and though not in the abyss page 58 he is aware of it His gaudy wife Jacky represents the seedier side of society She is in the abyss but does not seem aware of it Mrs Munt Aunt Juley is awfully English with little genuine understanding of Art and Literature but a great understanding of its importance in cultured society Mrs Wilcox represents an ideal wife a gentle diplomat who is not passionate about anything that might be controversial but is passionate that people should have a home The upbringing of the Schlegel sisters is one of liberal idealism from their German father and bone-deep Englishness from their mothers side The maternal side of the family is represented by Aunt Juley
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