Howards End is a book based on the events which took place in the 20th century; it is about three families living in England: the Wilcoxes, the Schlegel siblings and the Basts. After Margret attends a Beethoven’s fifth symphony, she meets Leonard Bast, a middle class man, and converses with him; they later head to the Schlegel’s house to get Leonard’s umbrella after Helen accidentally left with it. Leonard leaves the Wickham place hurriedly in shame after Helen had taken his umbrella and heads home. He starts to read Ruskin’s Stones of Venice in the anticipation that he will become more affluent in English prose. He believes that if he gains the culture that the Schlegel’s have, he will have a better future.
Leonard’s lover, Jacky, arrives and is anxious to know when he will marry her. Leonard assures her that it will be on her 21st birthday. The day after, Margret is notified that the Wilcoxes have moved to a flat in Wickham place, which is opposite to the Schlegels. Aunt Juley exclaims that this is bad news in relation to Helen’s feelings for Paul. Mrs. Wilcox calls Margret after the move-in. She ignores the call and replies with a note that it is not advisable for them to meet given the past situation of Helen and Paul. Margret and Mrs. Wilcox resolve their conflict, finally meet and gradually become friends. In a conversation, during which Margret and Mrs. Wilcox go Christmas shopping, Margret reveals that she will be forced to move out of Wickham place when the lease expires. Mrs. Wilcox dies not long after and is buried near Howards End. As the Wilcoxes eat breakfast, Mr. Wilcox, while in his room, flashes back on his 30 years of marriage. Shocking news is received when a hand written note stating that Mrs. Wilcox left Howards End to Margret is discovered. The family decides that Margret cannot have the estate and they make a decision to ignore the note.