Idk, if you think about it, Leonard was a pretty stupid, self-destructive guy, who mostly made terrible choices in his life. When told about what happened with Bast’s demise, Henry was dismissive. He’s not necessarily cruel, but dispassionate — and I agreed. Helen’s reaction was kinda nutty. Look, it was Leonard’s decision to quit a perfectly good job. Even he was skeptical at first, when M & H told him about the “likely” downfall of his company, as told to them by Henry. He didn’t have to heed their warning.
Ah, but Forster is all about ironies — and man, there are a ton of them here, eh? I didn’t remember that it was actually Henry who egged on Charles to “thrash” Bast. Well, maybe Charles took that task on his own, but Henry certainly made clear he wanted Charles to toss M & H out of Howard’s End, Yeesh, very ugly!
This version really makes you wonder why the heck Leonard is with Jacky. She looks old enough to be his mother & she seems really sickly — she’s an all around burden. So what gives? Is Leonard such a charitable fellow? It’s never made clear here & doesn’t make much sense. In the ‘92 film it’s made very clear. That Jacky was all about sex, sex, sex. He just had absolutely nothing else in common with her — and he did have cultural aspirations, which is why Leonard & Helen hooking up in the’92 film flowed so much better than it does here. Helen described their hookup to M briefly here, but it didn’t seem too believable.
Forster clearly wanted to make statements about hypocrisies of the upper classes. Yes, H & M may have been well-intentioned about the Basts & yet their lives are made worse — and Leonard ends up being violently murdered, and Jacky is likely to suffer a grim end, all while M & H live on comfortably & happily. I thought it was particularly cruel of Margaret to so abruptly write Leonard she could not help him find a job. She could have tried to help him in some way when he so desperately needed it. But she put her own position with Henry first. It revealed her to be quite a hypocrite! She thinks of herself as kind & thoughtful, but she certainly was not here . . .