Study Guide

Howards End Chapter 12

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Chapter 12

  • It turns out that Margaret didn't know about Mrs. Wilcox's bequest after all. She feels undone by her friend's death, and contemplates the way in which she disappeared from the world.
  • Margaret also thinks over the funeral – it was nothing but a ceremony, with nothing to do with Mrs. Wilcox's actual death.
  • Finally, she also thinks a lot about the Wilcoxes, who she can't understand; they live in a completely different world than her family, and she can't blame them for it (the way Helen and Tibby do).
  • Margaret and Helen exchange letters (the latter is still in Germany). Helen is unaffected by Mrs. Wilcox's death – she's a little sad, but that's it.
  • Helen returns from Germany, and has had another marriage proposal, which she rejected. The Schlegels' cousin Frieda keeps trying to set them up with potential German spouses to bring them back to their original homeland.
  • Tibby also has news – he's getting ready to go to Oxford, and he loves it for its aesthetic qualities. We get the feeling again that Tibby is rather an odd duck.
  • Margaret interrupts the pleasant family banter to bring up the Wilcoxes. We can tell from what she says that they made an effort to see if Mrs. Wilcox had told Margaret about leaving Howards End to her – obviously she didn't, and obviously they're not going to tell her. Mr. Wilcox ended up giving Margaret a silver vinaigrette (an ornate box, not a salad dressing) to remember Mrs. Wilcox by.
  • Helen isn't interested. She pauses to be polite, then goes on talking about her Germany trip.
  • Margaret sees that life isn't as linearly organized as history makes it seem; one can never really be prepared for things. She resolves to be less cautious in the future.

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