Howards End by E.M. Forster is based in the year 1910 and is set in England. The novel portrays the expected traits of men and women. Using Gender Theory and, more specifically, Judith Butler’s idea of “performing gender”, one can better understand the actions of two of the main characters, Henry and Margaret, based on their performance of gender. For example, Margaret allows Henry to take over her affairs when they are engaged, and Henry suppresses all emotions, each performing gender specific attributes. However, the qualities performed by these characters are continuously changing and are not always specific to one gender. For example, when Margaret is head of her household, she performs masculine traits such as making decisions about houses. This continuous transition of repressed and displayed behaviors suggest that gender qualities are on a relative continuum that ranges from masculine to feminine qualities in each individual “performed” in different situations or when not in control, such as in the event of a major crisis. Using this relative continuum and the idea of situational gender performance, this essay attempts to better understand the personalities of these two characters and what implications their gender performance has on society.
"Howards End: Margaret, Henry, and the Situational Performance of Gender,"
The Catalyst: Vol. 3
, Article 1.
Available at: http://aquila.usm.edu/southernmisscatalyst/vol3/iss1/1