One of the main questions Howards End asks us to consider is this: how can an English person go about being an English person in the England that the novel shows us? That sounds a little crazy, so we'll take a step back. The world of Forster's novel is rife with change and conflict, and each character we encounter is challenged by these changes and conflicts, not only on a political level, but on a personal one as well. It's up to them to decide, then, how best to reconcile their own personal desires and beliefs to the requirements of the society they live in – and it's a real challenge.
In Howards End, characters' identities are informed largely by their social circumstances, and the only way for any character to change is through a shift in social status.
Identity is far from individual in Howards End, and Forster problematically groups characters' personas by their identification with families or nations.