restricted access Attending to Reading E. M. Forster: Howards End and Ruth Wilcox’s Unattended Death

This essay analyzes the meanings surrounding E. M. Forster’s treatment of the dying and death, early in Howards End, of one of the major characters, Mrs. Wilcox. It builds on Victorian and Edwardian social and cultural expectations of dying at home, Forster’s preoccupation with dying in the home in which one is born, and the difficult dying that Ruth Wilcox undergoes in a nursing home, to analyze Forster’s subtle delineation of the depths of treachery within the Wilcox household. This rereading of Forster’s novel underlines the importance of critically appraising Forster’s silences and looking for his misdirections and indirections.