chapter  4
20 Pages

Discovering Autonomy and Authenticity in North and South: Elizabeth Gaskell, John Stuart Mill, and the Liberal Ethic

The articulation of a multi-standed discourse regarding moral limits allows E. M. Forster to tackle both the fantasy of ceaseless' growth and the notion of duty as involving a sense of indeterminate responsibility that is responsive to feelings of guilt. At Howards End, Margaret Schlegel repudiates any sense of guilt while advancing her critique of a perfectionist ideal which suggests that we are capable of boundless and multifaceted growth: All over the world men and women are worrying because they cannot develop as they are supposed to develop. The goal Margaret aims at is the moral capacity to exercise the practical wisdom that is consonant with an awareness of the value of the goods that life has put in one's way. This is the ethical standpoint that holds that we reflect as to what we should do on the basis of as much self-k.