Howards End

by

E. M. Forster

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Howards End can help.

Cars and Walks Symbol Analysis

Cars and Walks Symbol Icon

In Howards End, Forster contrasts traveling by automobile with traveling by foot. The Wilcoxes love to drive, no matter how short the distance. Only Ruth Wilcox lacks the zeal for motoring, as Forster explains when he first introduces her at Howards End: “She seemed to belong not to the young people and their motor, but to the house, and to the tree that overshadowed it.” Both Ruth and Margaret, the past and the future “Mrs. Wilcox,” prefer walking to driving whenever possible. Miss Avery claims to have mistaken Margaret for Ruth when she saw her pacing around Howards End: “You had her way of walking.” When Margaret asks Henry Wilcox if they can walk to the church for Evie’s wedding, Henry responds, “One can’t have ladies walking through the Market Square. The Fussells wouldn’t like it; they were awfully particular at Charles’s wedding. My—she—our party was anxious to walk, and certainly the church was just round the corner, and I shouldn’t have minded; but the Colonel made a great point of it.” He can’t speak the name of Ruth, his deceased wife, but evidently she agreed with Margaret. Patriarchal tradition insists that walking is unladylike, however. When Margaret chastises Henry—“Are you aware that Helen and I have walked alone over the Apennines, with our luggage on our backs?”—he retorts, “I wasn’t aware, and, if I can manage it, you will never do such a thing again.”

Like Margaret and Ruth, Leonard Bast valiantly treads the earth instead of riding in a car or train: “You are the man who tried to walk by the Pole Star,” Margaret declares. As Leonard approaches Howards End on foot, Charles Wilcox overtakes him by car, but Forster shows this to be a hollow victory: the power to move ever faster only promotes the mistake of acting ever rasher. “He is a destroyer,” Forster writes of Charles and his type, and Charles soon proves this point by impulsively pummeling Leonard and causing his weakened heart to stop. Charles shows no remorse for his rash actions, much the same as how the Wilcoxes’ driver lacked any remorse for negligently running over a cat while not watching the road in the sparsely trafficked countryside. Disgusted with the needless haste of the drivers, Margaret condemned the travelling party she was a part of: “They had no part with the earth and its emotions. They were dust, and a stink, and cosmopolitan chatter, and the girl whose cat had been killed had lived more deeply than they.” Forster associates motors with heedlessness and destructiveness. He thus hints at Henry’s reformation late in the book when Henry rejects Charles’s offer to drive him half a mile: “You young fellows’ one idea is to get into a motor. I tell you, I want to walk; I’m very fond of walking.”

Cars and Walks Quotes in Howards End

The Howards End quotes below all refer to the symbol of Cars and Walks. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Thrift Editions edition of Howards End published in 2002.
Chapter 3 Quotes

They were all silent. It was Mrs. Wilcox.

She approached just as Helen’s letter had described her, trailing noiselessly over the lawn, and there was actually a wisp of hay in her hands. She seemed to belong not to the young people and their motor, but to the house, and to the tree that overshadowed it. One knew that she worshipped the past, and that the instinctive wisdom the past can alone bestow had descended upon her.

Related Characters: Ruth Wilcox
Related Symbols: Howards End, Cars and Walks
Page Number: 14-15
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile
Chapter 4 Quotes

“When I saw all the others so placid, and Paul mad with terror in case I said the wrong thing, I felt for a moment that the whole Wilcox family was a fraud, just a wall of newspapers and motor-cars and golf-clubs, and that if it fell I should find nothing behind it but panic and emptiness.”

Related Characters: Helen Schlegel (speaker), Margaret Schlegel, Paul Wilcox
Related Symbols: Cars and Walks
Page Number: 17
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Chapter 13 Quotes

To speak against London is no longer fashionable. The Earth as an artistic cult has had its day, and the literature of the near future will probably ignore the country and seek inspiration from the town. One can understand the reaction…Certainly London fascinates. One visualises it as a tract of quivering grey, intelligent without purpose, and excitable without love; as a spirit that has altered before it can be chronicled; as a heart that certainly beats, but with no pulsation of humanity. It lies beyond everything.

Related Symbols: Howards End, Cars and Walks
Page Number: 76-77
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Chapter 14 Quotes

…[Leonard’s] outburst ended in a swamp of books. No disrespect to these great names. The fault is ours, not theirs. They mean us to use them for sign-posts, and are not to blame if, in our weakness, we mistake the sign-post for the destination. And Leonard had reached the destination. He had visited the county of Surrey when darkness covered its amenities, and its cosy villas had re-entered ancient night. Every twelve hours this miracle happens, but he had troubled to go and see for himself. Within his cramped little mind dwelt something that was greater than Jefferies’ books—the spirit that led Jefferies to write them.

Related Symbols: Cars and Walks, Books
Page Number: 85-86
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Chapter 25 Quotes

[Charles] described what he believed to have happened. Albert had flattened out a cat, and Miss Schlegel had lost her nerve, as any woman might. She had been got safely into the other car, but when it was in motion had leapt out again, in spite of all that they could say. After walking a little on the road, she had calmed down and had said that she was sorry. His father accepted this explanation, and neither knew that Margaret had artfully prepared the way for it. It fitted in too well with their view of feminine nature.

Related Symbols: Cars and Walks
Page Number: 153-154
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Chapter 41 Quotes

Here men had been up since dawn. Their hours were ruled, not by a London office, but by the movements of the crops and the sun…They are England’s hope…

At the chalk pit a motor passed [Leonard]. In it was another type, whom Nature favours—the Imperial. Healthy, ever in motion, it hopes to inherit the earth. It breeds as quickly as the yeoman, and as soundly; strong is the temptation to acclaim it as a super-yeoman, who carries his country’s virtue overseas. But the Imperialist is not what he thinks or seems. He is a destroyer.

Related Characters: Leonard Bast, Charles Wilcox
Related Symbols: Cars and Walks
Page Number: 232
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Chapter 42 Quotes

“You go on as if I didn’t know my own mind,” said Mr. Wilcox fretfully. Charles hardened his mouth. “You young fellows’ one idea is to get into a motor. I tell you, I want to walk; I’m very fond of walking.”

…Charles did not like it; he was uneasy about his father, who did not seem himself this morning. There was a petulant touch about him—more like a woman. Could it be that he was growing old? The Wilcoxes were not lacking in affection; they had it royally, but they did not know how to use it.

Related Characters: Henry Wilcox (speaker), Charles Wilcox
Related Symbols: Cars and Walks
Page Number: 236
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Get the entire Howards End LitChart as a printable PDF.
Howards end.pdf.medium

Cars and Walks Symbol Timeline in Howards End

The timeline below shows where the symbol Cars and Walks appears in Howards End. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
Capitalism Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
...laments, “Meg, shall we ever learn to talk less?” She enjoys joining the family on drives around the country and laughs at their hay fever. In Helen’s last, brief letter, she... (full context)
Chapter 3
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
...Charles Wilcox happens to be there when she asks for Howards End. He offers to drive her back with him. Unfortunately, she mistakes him for Paul and begins to talk to... (full context)
Chapter 6
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
Capitalism Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
...suspicions and wounded pride get the best of him by turning down the tea. He walks two miles home, unable to spare money for the tram. He reenters the tiny basement... (full context)
Chapter 10
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
Capitalism Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
...Evie, who have returned early from their motor trip to Yorkshire after Henry crashed the car. The trip to Howards End is forgotten. (full context)
Chapter 14
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
Capitalism Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
...day. The Schlegels don’t recognize him, but he reminds them that Margaret gave him her card after Helen took his umbrella years ago. His wife, Jacky, later found the card, and... (full context)
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
Capitalism Theme Icon
...the Schlegels only want to hear about his experience. They reassure him that his impulsive walking expedition was not foolish, and he is grateful that they understand his urge to witness... (full context)
Chapter 20
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
Capitalism Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
...to with a lady,” having no hotels. Margaret reminds him that she and Helen “have walked alone over the Apennines, with our luggage on our backs,” and he replies that she... (full context)
Chapter 21
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
Capitalism Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
...her uncle. Now that Evie is going to be married, she is no longer taking care of their father, and this neglect has prompted him to take a new wife. Charles’s... (full context)
Chapter 22
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
Capitalism Theme Icon
Helen joins Margaret and Henry for a walk. Margaret tells Henry that Helen received a letter from Leonard Bast. Thanks to Henry’s advice,... (full context)
Chapter 23
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
Capitalism Theme Icon
Colonialism and Imperialism Theme Icon
...and seeing the office doesn’t enlighten much. To her displeasure, they travel to Hilton by car.  She worries about how close they come to hitting chickens and children in the road.... (full context)
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
Capitalism Theme Icon
Colonialism and Imperialism Theme Icon
After Henry drops her off and drives over to get the key from the neighboring farmhouse, Margaret discovers that the house is... (full context)
Chapter 25
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
Capitalism Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
...are chivalrous but patronizing towards the women, especially once the group changes from train to car for the final leg of the journey. The men are engrossed with pointing out landmarks... (full context)
Gender Theme Icon
...been left behind to manage the accident, and she asks Charles repeatedly to turn the car around. Charles dismisses her wishes, confident that “The men are there … They will see... (full context)
Chapter 26
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
Capitalism Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
...a turn in the road to the church that will be difficult to manage by car, and Margaret asks if they can simply walk the short distance instead. He insists that... (full context)
Chapter 29
Capitalism Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
...wishing them to starve, but she is absorbed in her own crisis. She and Henry drive away from Oniton, never to return. (full context)
Chapter 31
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
Capitalism Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
...“nerves,” which cause her to overreact and do things like jump out of a moving car. He calls it “nerves” when she becomes upset after hearing that he has rented out... (full context)
Chapter 32
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
Capitalism Theme Icon
...is not the businessman his father was. He may even have to sell his beloved car. (full context)
Chapter 33
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
Capitalism Theme Icon
...of Hilton to see what has become of her stored belongings at Howards End.  She walks from the train to the Averys’ farm to retrieve the keys to Howards End from... (full context)
Chapter 34
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
Capitalism Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
Henry believes the sick have no rights—when Ruth was sick years ago, he promised to care for her at Howards End, but brought her to a nursing home instead. He tells... (full context)
Chapter 35
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
Capitalism Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
...plan is foiled when Dolly’s young son unwittingly sits down in the middle of the driveway and sets off a commotion when Henry tries to back out. Margaret makes it into... (full context)
Capitalism Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
...at Howards End and see Helen sitting on the porch, Margaret jumps out of the car ahead of the men to reach Helen first. She realizes that her sister has merely... (full context)
Chapter 36
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
...man has for Helen. She stands her ground outside the door until he and Henry drive away, and then she joins Helen inside. (full context)
Chapter 41
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
Capitalism Theme Icon
Colonialism and Imperialism Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
...by talking to Henry’s servants, and leaves London early one morning for Howards End. He walks from the Hilton train station to the house, and Charles Wilcox passes him in his... (full context)
Chapter 42
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
Capitalism Theme Icon
...sure after he hears that Charles used a sword upon the boy. He decides to walk over to the police station, declining Charles’ offer to drive him. (full context)