Communicator (communicator) wrote,
Communicator
communicator

One paragraph in Howard's End

I read Howard's End. Loads that could be said about it. The story is about the interaction between two well off respectable English families in the years just before the 1st World War. The people in one family are all intuitive, and the other sensory. It's also a good portrayal of what it is like to be a woman in a male-dominated culture, how you have to monitor how you present yourself, have a second face just in order to survive.

A man has confessed to his fiancée that he was unfaithful to his first wife, and she has forgiven him.

When the butler came to clear away, Henry was in a very different mood - asked the fellow what he was in such a hurry for, complained of the noise in the servants' hall. Margaret looked intently at the butler. He, as a handsome young man, was faintly attractive to her as a woman - an attraction so faint as scarcely to be perceptible, yet the skies would have fallen if she had mentioned it to Henry.


And it struck me that women in those days must have been as aware of the physicality of male servants, as we would be of any men who are in the same rooms as us. So, if they were attractive, they must have noticed. But I doubt if it was ever mentioned in any books at all. If it had been it would have been to indicate the woman was quite degenerate. And yet here Margaret is a cool and cerebral woman, highly restrained and chaste. Yet she must constantly dissemble even the mildest sexual feelings she might briefly entertain, or as she says 'the sky would fall'.
Subscribe
  • Post a new comment

    Error

    Comments allowed for friends only

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic
  • 3 comments