Study Guide

Charles Wilcox in Howards End

By E.M. Forster

Charles Wilcox

It's hard to put our feelings for Charles into language that's fit to be published by this fine website. Simply put, he's a fool – a pompous, thick-headed, stuff-shirted fool. And we hate him. Well, more specifically, we love to hate him. Charles is basically a collection of all of the traits that Forster sees as detrimental to the future of English manhood; he's imperious but imprudent, stubborn but stupid, and generally full of himself without any accomplishments to be proud of. He jumps to conclusions, then immediately jumps to actions (like killing poor Leonard) without ever thinking any of it through; as a man, he's constantly aware of the social demand that he act in some way, even when it's really the wrong response.