It seems that there are a lot of "Gino's" in America who strut like cocks on the walk, proud to be little more than studs for hire. Women are still foolish enough to fall for worthless men like this who live off their women. These men think it's enough for them just to exist, look good and spread their seed around. It doesn't say much for the women's self esteem that they would accept that kind of relationship. Reality is a bitch (excuse my language) so many live in denial rather than face the truth. Nobody wants to face hard truths and see how pathetic they are so it's easier to deny. Lilia was really a pathetic character in this book. She was never accepted by her first husband's family. Once she was married they decided that they would have to try to train Lilia to be acceptable. When she finally cuts loose from them, she falls for a worthless Italian and makes a very bad marriage. She thinks she's finally free and living the high life only to find out she's more imprisoned now than she was in England with the Herritons. She suffers severe depression and loneliness and finally dies in childbirth. Irma is also a pathetic character. She obviously wasn't loved by her mother, she's foisted upon her grandmother, aunt and uncle who treat her as a burden they have to bear. Everything is tightly controlled and she's abused by her Aunt Harriett. She's finally completely abandoned by her mother and she doesn't find out about her mother's death until she gets a postcard from Gino introducing her half-brother. She feels decieved.
Forster present the difference between English and Italian culture where you see the rigid lifestyle of the English, versus the passionate way of life in Italy. When the cultures come together conflicts will rise. Culture shock is one thing but there is common ground with all humanity. We are all sinners. There are cads in Italy and England, there is love and hatred any where you go. There is pride and meanness in any society, etc. Forster is contrasting Italy and England, one character from another, etc. You see Caroline Abbott contrasted with Lilia Herriton, Harriett with Perfetta, Philip with Gino, Mrs. Herriton with Mrs. Theobald, etc.
I still don't understand Forster's look into the inner workings of his character's mind. In this paragraph Lilia had taken a walk by herself against her husband's wishes. She just missed a chance to leave Gino and she ends up fainting in the road. When she woke up and got home, Gino was in a rage. But, his cousin, the maid, has it out with him, not Lilia!?
Perfetta screamed for she told him everything-all she knew and all she thought. He stood with open mouth, all the anger gone out of him, feeling ashamed, and an utter fool. He was fairly and rightfully cornered. When had a husband so given himself away before" She finished; and he was dumb, for she had spoken truly. Then, alas! the absurdity of his own position grew upon him, and he laughed-as he would have laughed at the same situation on the stage.
"You laugh?" stammered Lilia.
"Ah!" he cried, "who could help it? I, who thought you knew and saw nothing-I am tricked-I am conquered. I give in. Let us talk of it no more."
He touched her on the shoulder like a good comrade, half amused and half penitent, and then, murmuring and smiling to himself, ran quietly out of the room.
Perfetta burst into congratulations. "What courage you have?" she cried; "and what good fortune! He is angry no longer! He has forgiven you!"
Why is Perfetta fighting with him and not Lilia? Gino is embarrassed that he has been found out. He sees it as a game. And "He has forgiven you" !?! Why is Perfetta, who was doing the fighting, congratulating Lilia? The whole scene was unnatural, surreal.
So far, I've read 2 of Forsters books and have one more to go, Howard's End. Personally I'm not impressed but some people really love him.