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VERSAILLES'S HISTORY Versailles, city, northern France, capital of Yvelines
A Room With a View by E.M.Forster
It opens in an English boarding house in
Florence with a confrontation between Lucy Honeychurch's chaperone Miss
Bartlett, the arrogant Mr Emerson and his son George; the two men generously,
but in Miss Bartlett's view, indecorously, offer to exchange rooms, in order to
give the ladies a room with a view, a favour which they reluctantly accept. The
novel describes the guests of the Pensione Bertolini, among them the clergyman Mr Beebe and the "original"
lady novelist Miss Lavish, and their different reactions to
Lucy, an impressionable and artistic but
immature girl, is disturbed first by witnessing a street murder, and then by an
impulsive kiss from George Emerson during an excursion to
In the book A Room With a View, Foster analyses conflict between social convention and passion: the English, in fact, after the kingdom of queen Victoria thought that was necessary to repress passion and control young girls. Lucy's love story with George, by social standards, is completely unacceptable, so Lucy have to fight these principles, many of which she has internalized, and learn to appreciate her own desires.
An other important theme is the beauty of human beings. Foster gently mocks the Honeychurches for their bourgeois habits, but he also celebrates their strengths He, in the contrary, criticizes Cecil because he is too critical of people. He cannot appreciate the good in the simple country gentry with whom Lucy has grown up.
Opposites are played throughout the novel, and often there are mentions of 'rooms' and 'views'. Characters and places associated with 'rooms' are often conservative and uncreative: Mrs Honeychurch is often pictured in a room, as is Cecil. Characters like Freddy and the Emersons, on the other hand, are often described as being 'outside', representing their forward-thinking and modern character types.
Also, Forster stresses the symbolic differences
Lucy Honeychurch - A young woman from
Bartlett - Lucy's older, poorer cousin,
Charlotte accompanies Lucy to
George Emerson - A young man with a passionate
desire for truth and love, and at the beginning of the book, a strange apathy.
Though he is of a lower social class, he falls in love with Lucy in
Mr. Emerson - Mr. Emerson constantly offends proper societal conventions with his abrupt manner of speaking and his evident honestly. An avid reader, he shows liberal values, and also plays a role in helping Lucy to surrender herself to her true desires even if it means violating social taboos.
Cecil Vyse - The dislikeable man who
becomes Lucy's boyfriend for a short period of time. Cecil is pretentious and
despises all the country people of Lucy's town, finding them unsophisticated
and rough in comparison to the
Mrs. Honeychurch - Lucy's cheerful, talkative, good-natured, and warm-hearted mother, who always says what's on her mind. Her husband is dead.
Mr. Beebe - The rector in Lucy's town, a tactful and pleasant man who uses his influence to help various characters. He takes a liking to those who are honest, but sees the good in almost everyone. He supports Lucy all through the book until she decides to marry George, when he oddly turns against the idea.
Freddy - Lucy's younger brother, who is energetic and loves tennis, swimming, and the study of anatomy. He dislikes Cecil and likes George.
Edward Morgan Forster was born on January 1,
Forster graduated from King's College,
Throughout his life, Forster stressed the importance of individuality and good will, emphasizing his belief in humanity's potential for self-improvement. Forster became an active member of a movement of writers and thinkers known as the Bloomsbury Group, a number of intellectuals defined in part by their radical opposition to Victorian traditions and manners.
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