by E.M. Forster
Analysis: Narrator Point of View
Who is the narrator, can she or he read minds, and, more importantly, can we trust her or him?
Third Person (Omniscient) – with the occasional odd lapse
For about 99.9% of Howards End, the narrative voice appears to be a somewhat sassy third person narrator, who can see into the hearts and minds of all of the characters (some more than others). The other .1% of the time, though, there's an odd "I" that shows up on the scene. This "I" is confusing – who is it? Is it some mystery narrator that we're just not supposed to wonder about? Is it Forster himself? The answers are not for us to know; rather, we just take it in stride. A better question is, what does it do for us, as readers? Basically, this unsettling gesture makes us question the objectivity of the narration throughout the whole novel – it reminds us that everything comes down to personal perspectives (what the Schlegels call the "interior" life), and that every single thing is viewed through our individual, unique, and incredibly human eyes.