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Howards End

Howards End


by E.M. Forster

Helen Schlegel Timeline and Summary

  • Helen visits the Wilcoxes at Howards End. She falls in love with the whole family temporarily, but Paul in particular.
  • The thing with Paul only lasts about an evening – but by the time Helen can write to Margaret to say "never mind," it's too late. Aunt Juley arrives and causes a scene.
  • Helen tries to explain herself to Margaret; her vision of love is a highly abstract one.
  • Helen is unperturbed by the Wilcoxes' reappearance across the street from Wickham Place.
  • At the Beethoven concert, Helen is overwhelmed by the music – she seems to feel music more than her siblings. She's so distracted that she walks off with Leonard Bast's umbrella, and he comes back with Margaret to fetch it.
  • Helen goes on a trip to Germany with Frieda. There, she receives a marriage proposal, but turns it down.
  • Helen returns from Germany, and Schlegel life goes on as usual for two years.
  • Jacky shows up at Wickham Place and talks with Helen, who convinces her that her husband is not hiding out there. Helen is overwhelmed with delight at this comic figure, which strikes us as rather insensitive.
  • The next day, Helen and Margaret are both fascinated by Leonard, who comes to explain his wife's visit. His tale of walking through the night intrigues Helen.
  • Helen and Margaret are both concerned about Leonard, and discuss him with their friends, as well as with Mr. Wilcox.
  • The sisters have Leonard over for tea, and try to tell him to quit his job at the Porphyrion. When he flees, Helen pursues him to try and talk some reason into him.
  • Helen and her siblings go to visit Aunt Juley at Swanage. When Margaret goes off to London to see about the Wilcoxes' house, Helen warns her not to do anything foolish.
  • Helen objects dramatically to Margaret's marriage to Henry. He basically represents everything she despises in the world.
  • If Margaret must marry Henry, then Helen decides that she must cut herself free – she tells Margaret frankly that she still loves her sister, but she needs to do things her own way from now on…we wonder exactly what she intends to do.
  • Helen turns down the invitation to Evie's wedding, but she crashes it anyway, with two "starving" guests in tow – the Basts.
  • Helen charges in, claiming that she, Margaret, and Mr. Wilcox have destroyed Leonard and Jacky's lives, and that they owe it to the Basts to make it up. Margaret calms her down, and packs her and her "guests" off to the local hotel.
  • Helen and Leonard talk over the situation and life in general, while they await word from Margaret and Henry.
  • Carried away by the perceived romance of Leonard's tragic situation, Helen sleeps with him, then flees, leaving him and Jacky with the bill.
  • Helen goes to see Tibby, desperately flustered, and tells him to tell Margaret that she's gone away. She also instructs her unenthusiastic brother to give five thousand pounds to the Basts, which he reluctantly does.
  • When the Basts refuse her money, Helen isn't sure what to do with it – so she reinvests it, and accidentally becomes even richer.
  • Helen is on the run for a while – Margaret and Tibby can't pin her down, and she refuses to return to England from Germany. When Aunt Juley becomes ill, Helen comes back to London, but won't see her siblings.
  • Lured by Margaret's trap, Helen shows up at Howards End. She and Margaret reconcile, and she tells her sister the whole story of her and Leonard, and her pregnancy.
  • Helen begs Margaret to stay at Howards End that night.
  • After Leonard's arrival and accidental death, Helen stays in England.
  • Months pass. Helen has her baby at Howards End, and the Schlegels settle in there. Helen has changed a lot – she's even grown to care for Mr. Wilcox. It seems like she's finally grown up and learned to accept the real world, not just her out-of-reach ideals.