Howards End

Howards End


E. M. Forster

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Howards End: Chapter 39 Summary & Analysis

Charles meets Tibby at Henry’s house in Ducie Street. Charles is badly prejudiced against Helen, stemming from her disastrous entanglement with Paul. He suspects that she and Margaret are trying to get Howards End, and he feels very possessive of the house, despite disliking it. Tibby has little in common with Charles, as his habit of taking his enormous inheritance for granted puts him at odds with Charles’s economic-minded perspective. Charles interrogates him about who Helen’s lover may be, asking whether she mentioned anybody the last time they spoke. Tibby admits that she mentioned Leonard and Jacky Bast, and Charles draws his own conclusions.
Charles has always been suspicious of Margaret and Helen for being bold, opinionated women. In his misogynistic view, women who don’t accept their “natural” inferiority are not to be trusted. Tibby can’t identify with Charles’s financial insecurity and obsession with reputation, since his family fortune protects him from most problems. Charles relies on his respectability to signal his class standing, while Tibby does not.
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