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Howards End

Howards End

Analysis

Howards End as Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis: Rebirth Plot

Christopher Booker is a scholar who wrote that every story falls into one of seven basic plot structures: Overcoming the Monster, Rags to Riches, the Quest, Voyage and Return, Comedy, Tragedy, and Rebirth. Shmoop explores which of these structures fits this story like Cinderella’s slipper.

Plot Type :

OK, this seems like a stretch, but just go with us…

The hero falls under the shadow of a dark power…

The Schlegels and the Wilcoxes begin their odd relationship.

It's simple – when conservative Wilcoxes meet liberal Schlegels, conflict is inevitable. The "dark power" here could be seen as a couple of things – at this early stage, it seems to be the Wilcoxes themselves.

For a while, it seems to go well…

The Helen-Paul debacle blows over, and Margaret makes friends with Mrs. Wilcox

We wonder if perhaps Wilcoxes and Schlegels can coexist in the world. They're neighbors now, and it seems like things might actually work out. Margaret and Mrs. Wilcox form an odd bond, and their relationship makes it appear as though the breach between the two families is at least partially closed.

But eventually, it approaches again in full force…

Margaret and Mr. Wilcox get married.

Though it seems like the Wilcoxes and Schlegels seem to have broken off their association after Mrs. Wilcox's death, they find each other again after two years. Mr. Wilcox takes a liking to Margaret, resulting in their marriage. It looks to us (and to Helen) like Margaret has gone over to the dark side – she's fascinated by Mr. Wilcox's air of masculine ability and strength.

When it seems the dark power has completely triumphed…

Helen seems hopelessly estranged from her family. The Wilcoxes seem to have won for good.

After the horrible events of Evie's wedding, Helen banishes herself from England, and it seems like she'll never return. We wonder if the Schlegels will ever be reunited. Have the Wilcoxes and their mode of living triumphed over the romantic, idealistic Schlegels?

Along comes a miraculous redemption…

Back at Howards End, a new beginning.

After Society has basically crushed everyone – Wilcox and Schlegel alike – a new hope turns up just in time. Back at Howards End, Margaret, Helen, and Mr. Wilcox are all reunited. Helen's baby (notably, also Leonard's child) provides hope for a new kind of Englishness, one that's less torn apart by the problems of older social standards and structures. Even Mr. Wilcox has found a kind of release, and he and Helen are finally reconciled to each other.

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