Study Guide

Howard "Howie" S. Landsdowne III in Life After Life

Howard "Howie" S. Landsdowne III

Not Proud to Be an American…

The American rapist who admires Hitler, Howie kisses Ursula forcefully in the woods on her sixteenth birthday, something that Ursula initially considers an accomplishment. She changes her tune, though, when he rapes her on the stairs.

Unfortunately, Howie's actions are seen as an indiscretion instead of a completely unacceptable act of violence, and "it was the definition of an indiscretion that you didn't speak of it afterward" (20.253). This adds shame to Ursula's experience, and compounds her feeling that it is all her fault, thinking "a girl surely should know better than to be caught on those back stairs" (20.274). Pro tip: Ladies should feel free to walk anywhere, any time. The problem is Howie's socially sanctioned entitlement, not where Ursula chooses to walk.