Edward Morgan Forster’s motto “only connect” best summarises his humanistic outlook on life. Forster puts emphasis on the significance of unity and harmony among the people with different views of life and identities. Among all his works of fiction, Howards End best represents Forster’s concern for “only connect”. Henry Wilcox’s and Margaret’s indifference and distanced approach to Leonard’s demand for employment because of his lower status, Helen’s failed efforts for the appreciation of the “other” half of the society trying to survive in economic difficulties in the case of the Bast family and Leonard Bast’s acceptance of his inferiority to the Wilcoxes embody Forster’s anxieties regarding the motto “only connect” among the people with different social status and views of life. Forster’s emphasis on the significance of social harmony seems to be realised in contemporary period thanks to the contribution of globalisation to the establishment of a “connection” among the people with different lifestyles, identities and social classes. However, the “connection” in contemporary world also leads to an inevitable process of transformation in the outlook on life and humankind in individual and social senses, causing a quest for a new identity. With Howard’s efforts for a new self by his affair with Victoria and his failure in returning to his family bonds due to the change in his wife’s outlook on him, Zadie Smith’s On Beauty is a story that represents the inevitable inability to discover a new personal identity within the constant flux of contemporary world. Thus, Forster’s emphasis on “connection” as a means of harmony and unity among people turns out to act as a cause of a quest for a new self within the dynamism of contemporary circumstances.
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