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Howards End | Chapter Summaries

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Timeline of Events

  • June, early 20th century

    Helen kisses Paul Wilcox at Howards End and writes to her sister Margaret that she is in love.

    Chapter 1
  • Soon after

    Mrs. Munt tries to confront the Wilcox family, but Helen and Paul's relationship is already over.

    Chapter 2
  • That fall

    The Schlegels meet Mr. Bast after Helen takes his umbrella home from a concert by mistake.

    Chapter 5
  • November

    Margaret and Mrs. Wilcox become friends.

    Chapter 8
  • A few weeks later

    Mrs. Wilcox, now gravely ill, writes her husband a letter leaving Howards End to Margaret.

    Chapter 11
  • Before Christmas

    Mrs. Wilcox's funeral takes place at Hilton, near Howards End.

    Chapter 11
  • Two years later

    Mr. Bast visits the Schlegel sisters and impresses them with the story of his nighttime walk.

    Chapter 14
  • That night

    Mr. Wilcox tells the Schlegels that Mr. Bast's company will fold, and they decide to warn him.

    Chapter 15
  • Soon after

    Margaret and Mr. Wilcox become engaged to marry.

    Chapter 20
  • Later that summer

    Mr. Bast gets a lower paying job at a bank, having left his previous job on Mr. Wilcox's tip.

    Chapter 22
  • Soon after

    Mr. Bast loses his job, and he and Jacky struggle to survive. Helen tries to help them.

    Chapter 26
  • August

    Helen takes the Basts to Oniton, where Mr. Wilcox's past affair with Jacky is revealed.

    Chapter 26
  • Later that night

    Helen and Mr. Bast have sex at the hotel in Oniton.

    Chapter 40
  • Shortly after

    Helen tells Tibby to give her money to Mr. Bast, who refuses it, and the Basts disappear.

    Chapter 30
  • September

    Helen leaves the country, Margaret marries Mr. Wilcox, and Wickham Place is demolished.

    Chapter 31
  • The following spring

    Mr. Wilcox and Margaret trick Helen into going to Howards End, and they see Helen is pregnant.

    Chapter 35
  • That evening

    Margaret defies her husband, and she and her sister spend the night at Howards End.

    Chapter 40
  • The next morning

    Mr. Bast goes to Howards End to confess, and Charles hits him, causing a fatal heart attack.

    Chapter 41
  • Shortly after

    Charles is sentenced to three years in prison for manslaughter, breaking his father's spirit.

    Chapter 43
  • Fourteen months later

    Margaret, Mr. Wilcox, Helen, and her son live at Howards End, now willed to Margaret and her nephew.

    Chapter 44

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Chapters 1–2 The first chapter of the novel comprises three letters from Helen to Margaret, written from the country home of the Wi... Read More
Chapters 3–4 On her train ride to Hilton, Mrs. Munt reflects on her late sister Emily's two daughters, Margaret and Helen, thinking... Read More
Chapters 5–6 The Schlegel family, their German cousin, Frieda Mosebach, and Frieda's suitor, Herr Liesecke, attend a concert. Helen... Read More
Chapters 7–8 Mrs. Munt warns Margaret that the Wilcox family have moved into the apartment across the street from Wickham Place, an... Read More
Chapters 9–10 Margaret's role as a maternal figure and head of household after her parents' deaths exonerates her from Mrs. Wilcox's... Read More
Chapters 11–12 A woodcutter views Mrs. Wilcox's funeral in Hilton from an elm tree he is pruning. The villagers attending the funeral... Read More
Chapters 13–14 Two years later, the lease on Wickham Place is almost up, and Margaret is trying to decide where to move the family ne... Read More
Chapters 15–16 The Schlegel sisters go to a dinner and discussion group with other women. The topic is how the rich should spend thei... Read More
Chapters 17–18 Margaret has not found a new home, and she is anxious to secure a place before they leave for their yearly visit to th... Read More
Chapters 19–20 Mrs. Munt and Helen take visiting Frieda to a ridge overlooking the British countryside. They observe the train in whi... Read More
Chapters 21–22 Sitting in their yard in Hilton with their two young children, Charles blames his wife, Dolly, for his father's engage... Read More
Chapters 23–24 Helen tells Margaret that she dislikes Mr. Wilcox, but that if anyone can "attempt difficult relations" and make a mar... Read More
Chapters 25–26 Evie is unhappy to hear of her father's engagement and moves her own wedding date up. She wants her wedding to take pl... Read More
Chapters 27–28 At the hotel in Shropshire, Jacky is in bed, while Helen and Leonard Bast sit up talking. Helen guesses that Jacky has... Read More
Chapters 29–30 Mr. Wilcox tells Margaret he is not worthy of her and releases her from their engagement, but she objects. He proceeds... Read More
Chapters 31–32 The Schlegels' belongings are moved out of Wickham Place. The empty property turns into a "corpse, void of emotion" as... Read More
Chapters 33–34 Margaret travels to Hilton. Miss Avery's niece walks her to Howards End, and they find Miss Avery inside. She opens th... Read More
Chapters 35–36 Margaret and Mr. Wilcox have breakfast with Dolly, and they learn that Helen has already arrived in Hilton. Margaret i... Read More
Chapters 37–38 Margaret and Helen find it difficult to talk to one another as Helen suspects Margaret of trying to trap her, and Marg... Read More
Chapters 39–40 Tibby and Charles meet at Ducie Street, and the two are complete opposites. Helen's pregnancy confirms Charles's worst... Read More
Chapters 41–42 Mr. Bast has been wracked with guilt in the eight months since his night with Helen. He feels as if he has ruined a pr... Read More
Chapters 43–44 Helen fills Mr. Bast's arms with flowers from the garden as he lies dead on the gravel drive, hoping that his child wi... Read More
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