Much of Howard's End involves the clash of modern England, symbolized by the Wilcoxes, with traditional England, symbolized by Mrs. Wilcox, Margaret Schlegel, and the spinster Miss Avery.
Twentieth century England is, like Henry Wilcox, hard-headed, ruthless, practical, and bent on making a profit. The older, traditional England, represented by Mrs. Wilcox and her beloved home, Howard's End, is rural, rooted in the past, beautiful, gracious, and slow-paced. The Wilcoxes would just as soon as sell and/or tear down Howard's End for profit. It is not a status symbol to them, nor, to them, a comfortable home, and they have no nostalgia for the past it represents. Mrs. Wilcox picks Margaret to inherit the house, because she intuitively grasps that the younger woman will understand the soul of the house the way she does and work to preserve its older way of life
Miss Avery, from one of the old farming families nearby, is dismissed by Henry Wilcox as nothing but an old maid who wants attention....
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