E.M. Forster offers up all kinds of diverse examples of English manhood in Howards End, and it's up to us to pass judgment on all of them. Some are ridiculous, some intimidating, and almost none of them are satisfactory. Masculinity is one of the crises central to this novel, and we have to keep asking ourselves what a "real man" should be like – what are the criteria in the world Forster creates, and are they actually useful?
Though the Wilcox men are initially suggested as the reader's model for manhood, they are gradually revealed to be imperfect models, demonstrating that there is a lack of "real men" in the novel's vision of England.
All successful models of masculinity ultimately fail by the end of Howards End, suggesting that traditional male-dominated society is limping to an end.