The disregard of a dying woman's bequest, a girl's attempt to help an impoverished clerk, and the marriage of an idealist and a materialist intersect at an estate called Howards End. There, the lives of three families become entangled. The Wilcoxes, who own the estate, are a wealthy family who made their fortune in the American colonies. The Schlegel siblings—Margaret, Helen, and Tibby—are lively socialites whose spirited and active lifestyles are representative of the intellectual bourgeoisie. And the Basts are a young couple from a lower-class background who are struggling to survive. As chance brings them together, societal conventions come into question as does the ownership of Howards End. Through the fate of the estate—as well as the lives of the families who are affiliated with it—Forster creates a brilliant parallel to the fate of English society itself.