Study Guide

Howards End Chapter 40

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Chapter 40

  • Helen finally opens up to Margaret about Leonard, but Margaret is confused by how Helen fell in love – with an idea, rather than with a man.
  • The night is all about Helen coming clean and evaluating everything; she realizes that she'd blamed Mr. Wilcox for everything when she should have.
  • Helen also feels guilty about the way in which her relationship with Leonard fell out – after the fact, she never wanted to see him again.
  • Helen's clearly grown a lot; she says she now understands Margaret's marriage to Henry, and even if she never likes him, she'll always understand.
  • Margaret says that only Mrs. Wilcox can and ever understood everyone – there was something magical about her that allowed her to see through everything.
  • The sisters greet Miss Avery, and note that they are still like tourists at Howards End; they wonder if they will always be only tourists everywhere.
  • Helen invites Margaret to join her in Germany – her sister is tempted, but doesn't know if she can bear to leave England.
  • The two of them enjoy a moment of peace under the wych elm tree, and everything seems quiet and still. They embrace and say good night. Margaret wonders once again if everyone, even Leonard Bast, is a part of Mrs. Wilcox's mind.

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