In Howards End (1910), E. M. Forster carries out a highly nuanced exploration of gender relations to highlight the conflicting ideas of liberalism and materialism of the upper-middle classes in England in the years before World War I. Such readings are predicated on classical gender opposition. However, clear-cut gender division seems unsettling and hence somewhat crude because the reader is repeatedly baffled by the novel`s out-of-character gender performances, which not only defy but transcend established gender expectations. In Howards End, all major characters seem to be overshadowed by some kind of performative failure in their inability to fully realize gender roles as well as to adequately fulfill gender expectations. This paper aims to verify through textual evidence whether or not performative failure actually manifests hidden anxieties concealed behind a novel written immediately preceding Forster`s final confirmation of his own sexual identity. It also attempts to show how the anxieties have been disguised, transformed, or overlaid in more public statements about conventional issues of courtship and marriage in the novel. In other words, Howards End may prove to be only deceptively conventional and a key to unfolding Foster`s secret desire.