SUMMARY A Room with a View 108

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And most of all his passionate son GeorgeLucy finds herself torn between the intensity of life in Italy and the repressed morals of Edwardian England personified in her terminally dull fiancé Cecil Vyse Will she ever learn to follow her own hear. 35I am in a classics mood but after my recent completion of War and Peace I decided to try something a little lighter and less than one tenth of the size This is how I found my way towards E M Forster's 130 page novel about a woman who is forced to make a decision between marrying a wealthy man she will never love and a man of lower class who she knows she can be happy with Funnily enough I think it was this story's length that slightly let it down for me had it been a longer book I'm sure I would have fallen in love with George as everyone else seems toThis book was published in 1908 a time somewhat between eras for British society Women could own property and were becoming increasingly free authors like Jane Austen George Eliot Charlotte BrontëCo had taken the nineteenth century by storm and yet women still did not have the vote and they would be expected to get married young stay at home and have babies for decades to come Into this world strolls Lucy Honeychurch at first a very naive and typical young woman of the time period But a woman who as the book progresses eventually challenges societal conventions and limitationsE M Forster is famous for his stories about British society and class and hypocrisy He was a gay man who spent his entire life hiding his sexuality from an unforgiving world made up of expectations and a very black and white view of what was right and wrong Though his personal struggles weren't made clear until after his death with the publication of Maurice it is obvious to me that A Room with a View is just one of his various attempts to poke fun at the rigidity of class gender and sexual boundariesLucy longs for independence freedom from the constrictions of being a woman in 1908 being upper middle class being a label with a set of rules that she is expected to follow She wants to live as she goes and define herself in that way not in a predetermined fashion that stems from centuries of ineualities and the desire for appropriateness I cannot tell you just how much I loved this idea I only wanted a longer story to make it perfect Lucy is such a charming and interesting character that she could have easily held my attention for double the amount of pages in this incredibly short book Also I wasn't uite sold on George and I think I was supposed to be that the point was that the reader would come to love the man who wasn't as wealthy who wasn't as well educated A little time to get to know George would have made me happy

CHARACTERS A Room with a View

A Room with a ViewBut you do he went on not waiting for contradiction You love the boy body and soul plainly directly as he loves you and no other word expresses it Lucy has her rigid middle class life mapped out for her until she visits Florence with her uptight. There is a great line in A Room with a View about a book that has been abandoned in a garden The garden was deserted except for a red book which lay sunning itself upon the gravel path The author then describes what the main characters are doing in various locations adjacent to the garden but meanwhile the red book is allowed to be caressed all the morning by the sun and to raise its covers slightly as though to acknowledge the caress The description of the book seems very innocent but the reader’s attention is immediately caught What is the significance of this book within a book we wonder and why does it have a 'red' coverAs it turns out the immediate purpose of the red covered book on that sunny English morning is to move the story along uickly and dramatically The red book causes certain things to happen that wouldn't otherwise have happened as if it were in fact a character in the novel with a voice of its own The plot is really very neat and makes for an entertaining read The backdrops Forster uses for the action are interesting too the shifting class structure and the new ideas on religion and politics which were emerging in England in the last decades of the nineteenth century But my favorite aspect of this beautiful novel is 'Art' Even when everything else is in flux Art is a constant and reliable reference which Forster returns to again and againThe first half of A Room with a View takes place in Florence The characters meet and avoid each other in a number of locations throughout the city at the Santa Croce church adorned with frescos by Giotto; in the Piazza Della Signoria where Michaelangelo's David stares across at Benvenuto Cellini's bloody Medusa under the Loggia dei Lanzi; at the San Miniato church its beautiful facade visible from the very room of the title Practically every scene in the Italian half of the book features some work of art or another directly or indirectly When the characters take a trip into the hills landscape artists are recalled When they view Giotto's frescos their different reactions mirror their approaches to life and living Forster continually uses the adjectives 'michaelangelesue' and 'leonardesue' to describe the opposing facets of the characters Once I began to notice that pattern I recorded it in the status updates but there were examples than I've listed there All of this is by way of explaining that Forster creates a juxtaposition of two modes of being in this novel the cool and sedate versus the sublimely passionate as if he himself is involved in some balancing act between sedate predictable prose and wildly unpredictable romanticism between his own rational leonardesue ualities and his michaelangelesue tendencies between the English half of the novel and the Italian half Two of the characters are symbols of those two extremes Lucy Honeychurch's entourage especially her cousin Charlotte Bartlett would like to keep Lucy on the side of the sedate George Emerson and his father would like Lucy to step over into their own dynamic world I was reminded of Virginia Woolf's Night and Day which offers similar contrasts and challenges and a similarly nuanced resolution I was unsure about what destiny Forster actually wanted for his main characters According to the introduction he wrote two different outcomes though only one exists today However in the end it is as if the characters resolve the situation for themselves Charlotte Bartlett emerges as a curious and unlikely deus ex machina and the title of the innocent looking book sunning itself in the English garden turns out to be ‘Under a Loggia’ nicely connecting the two halves of the novel and helping to resolve the dilemmas of the characters I've chosen two images that I think illustrate Forster's adjectives 'leonardesue' and 'michaelangelesue' Leonardo's 'Annunciation' in the Uffizi Gallery Florenceand one of Michelangelo's unfinished 'imprisoned slaves' now in the Academia Gallery FlorenceFor some further thoughts on how Forster merges his story with the art of Florence see my review of The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini I read both Forster's and Cellini's books while visiting the Tuscan capital last month and found interesting parallels between them

E.M. Forster é 8 SUMMARY

SUMMARY A Room with a View 108 ↠ But you do he went on not waiting for contradiction You love the boy body and soul plainly directly as he loves you and no other word expresses it Lucy has her rigid middle class life mapped out for her until she visits Florence with her uptight cousin Charlotte and finds her neatly ordered existence thrown off balance Her eyeCousin Charlotte and finds her neatly ordered existence thrown off balance Her eyes are opened by the unconventional characters she meets at the Pension Bertolini flamboyant romantic novelist Eleanor Lavish the Cockney Signora curious Mr Emerson. Considered by many to be Forster's sunny day and most optimistic novel would start off in Italy an Inn in Florence to be precise Two sweet Edwardian females Miss Lucy Honeychurch adorable name and her cousin Charlotte the chaperone have a bit of a dilemma whilst holidaying the silly Inn keeper promised them rooms with a view looking out onto the Arno River but they end up facing the courtyard I would have gladly faced the courtyard if it meant being a Tuscan tourist would have even bedded down in the cellar come to think of it rats and all But as luck would have it two budding hero's come to the rescue Mr Emerson an old man seated with them at dinner suggests that Lucy and Charlotte trade rooms with him and his son George which after first being rather offended at the proposal are advised to do by the Reverend Beebe a clergyman staying in the same place who is soon to become the vicar of Lucy's Parish back in Surrey EnglandThe early part of the novel really showcases Forster's use of dialogue that finds a good balance between beauty and delicacy between honesty and propriety When Lucy ventures out into Florence with the romantic novelist Eleanor Lavish she runs into the Emersons at the church of Santa Croce Speaking bluntly Lucy is torn between accepting kindness and taking offense of the attention when asked by Mr Emerson to befriend his son George Lucy becomes uncomfortable and hides any emotion could it be that she is already prematurely in love with someone she only recently met Especially after she witnesses an altercation which ends up with her falling into George's arms after a fainting episodeThe novel's second half picks up some months later in Surrey in a house named Windy Corner The house belongs to the Honeychurch family And it now appears Lucy has gained entry to an even better society with that of the sour Cecil Vyse who has been granted Lucy's hand in marriage no Lucy don't do it Cecil is an imbecile and sees Lucy as nothing than a work of art something to show off like a fancy antiue painting At heart he is a snob he just doesn't realize itIt also becomes apparent Cecil has two so called friends yes the Emersons who arrive back on the scene after a property becomes available on Summer Street all to the fury of Lucy who would go on to call off the engagement good girl but not for the love of George Erof course not my dearThe acutely observed characters feel so real in this novel and he breathes life into them in such a humane way although I didn't like them all it was a pleasure to be in their company Lucy is uite possibly the most fully fleshed so much so that even when she lies to herself and to those around her I found myself sympathizing with her situation instead of condemning her actions Among many things A Room with a View is a coming of age story about one young woman's entry into adulthood and the struggles that face Lucy as she emerges as her own woman growing from indecision to fulfillment She is torn between strict old fashioned Victorian values and newer liberal morals In the tussle her own idea of what is true evolves and matures George troubled by an existential crisis at such a young age doesn't understand how life can be truly joyful and fulfilling and seemed shadowed by a dark enigma and a has a uestion mark above his head The two are united by a shared appreciation for beauty which might be captured in their love of views Lucy adored the view of the Arno whilst George remembers a time of with his parents gazing at a view Each possesses what the other needs it just takes some soul searching for them to realize it George finds simple pleasure in the company of the Honeychurchs Lucy finds an inner courage to recognize her own individuality through time spent with the EmersonsThe story did meander here and there in places but the novels strength definitely lies in its vivid cast of characters especially the deep exploration of Lucy's attitude towards life and love With some great humorous dialogue and a playful nature I was very impressed indeed