A Room with a View

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A Room with a View Chapter 15 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The next Sunday, a very sunny day, Lucy, Mrs. Honeychurch, Charlotte, and Minnie Beebe are all preparing to go to church. George, Freddy, and Cecil are not going. Lucy sees a book that Cecil has been reading, called “Under a Loggia.” She thinks of how Cecil knows so much more than her, as when recently he corrected her when she mixed up two Italian painters.
Lucy has broken free of Charlotte’s influence, but is now under Cecil’s, as she thinks of him almost as a teacher. He is overly concerned with getting the names of painters right, but lacks the aesthetic sensibility and ability to take in beauty that George and Lucy share.
Themes
Education and Independence Theme Icon
Beauty Theme Icon
As the ladies prepare to go to church, Minnie doesn’t want to go, wondering why she can’t stay with the men. Mrs. Honeychurch speaks up in favor of church, and insists that Minnie come. After church, Mrs. Honeychurch and Lucy stop by the Emersons’ home. Mr. Emerson meets Mrs. Honeychurch and tells her that he likes his new home, but feels bad for ruining the Miss Alans’ plan to move in there.
The issue of church reveals the cultural schism between young and old and between men and women, as the more traditional of the group go to church. Religious devotion is another aspect of culture that is changing with the move into the 20th century. Emerson again shows his concern for other people.
Themes
Society, Manners, and Changing Social Norms Theme Icon
George doesn’t feel any regret for taking the Miss Alans’ place, and talks about how “there is a certain amount of kindness,” in the world. Mrs. Honeychurch thinks she agrees but doesn’t quite grasp what he’s saying. She says that Freddy is eager to play tennis with George today, and so George joins the Honeychurches in their carriage to go back to Windy Corner.
George again has elaborate, vague, quasi-philosophical ideas about the world. The older Mrs. Honeychurch thinks she agrees, but doesn’t quite understand his modern, youthful ponderings.
Themes
Society, Manners, and Changing Social Norms Theme Icon
In the carriage, George greets Charlotte. Something in his eye suggests to Lucy that George has not told anyone about their kiss, and she is relieved. She thinks to herself, “He does not love me. No. How terrible if he did!” Back at Windy Corner, everyone has lunch.
Lucy convinces herself that she does not want George to love her, but this is merely a lie she is telling herself. Her excessive concern about and interest in George shows that she has other feelings toward him.
Themes
Honesty Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
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After lunch, Lucy plays the piano. Cecil requests a particular song, but she stops playing instead. Then, George walks over, and she starts playing it. Embarrassed that it seems like she would play piano for George but not for Cecil, Lucy stops, and the men decide to play tennis. Cecil declines to play, though, so Lucy fills in for him. While playing tennis, Lucy remembers when she fainted after the man’s death in Florence, and how George talked to her on the riverboat. She looks around the outdoors and thinks how beautiful the landscape is.
Another issue of beauty and art—in this case music—separates Lucy and Cecil, but brings George and her together, as she will play music for George but not for her own fiancé. As Lucy’s real feelings for George threaten to come to the surface, she is more inclined to notice the natural beauty of the landscape around her. Her love and her appreciation of beauty seem to be connected.
Themes
Love Theme Icon
Beauty Theme Icon
After tennis, Cecil reads aloud to George and Lucy from the novel he is reading, which he finds comically bad. The novel is set in Florence, and before long Lucy realizes that it is actually Miss Lavish’s novel, written under a pseudonym. Cecil says that all modern books are bad, and doesn’t want to read anymore of it aloud. Lucy thinks that Cecil is behaving annoyingly this afternoon.
That Cecil expresses disdain for all modern books suggests that he is a traditional, old-fashioned man. There is also a bit of irony in the comment, since he is a character in precisely a modern book. The more time Lucy spends around George, the more she realizes that she may not really love Cecil.
Themes
Society, Manners, and Changing Social Norms Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Lucy asks George what he thinks of the view from Windy Corner. George says that all views are alike, “because all that matters in them is distance and air.” He says that his father says the only perfect view is “the view of the sky straight over heads.” Lucy finds this fascinating and pays more attention to George than to Cecil, who becomes frustrated. Lucy tries to make it up to him by asking him to read more of the novel.
Lucy and George again bond over an aesthetic matter—the appreciation of views. George’s notion of a perfect view suggests absolute freedom with the open expanse of the sky. Lucy is becoming more and more interested in George and less and less interested in Cecil.
Themes
Society, Manners, and Changing Social Norms Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Beauty Theme Icon
Cecil flips to a passage from the novel, in which the heroine is sitting on a riverbank in spring covered in violets. A man comes up to her, embraces her, and kisses her. Realizing what this scene was modeled on, Lucy is shaken, and suggests that everyone go inside for tea. Cecil, George, and Lucy walk together through a shrubbery, but then Cecil realizes he has forgotten the book by the tennis court. He goes back to get it, leaving George and Lucy in the bushes. George kisses Lucy, before Cecil rejoins them.
The scene in the novel shocks Lucy because she thought that the kiss was a secret, but it may also shock her because it reminds her of her feelings for George. Unlike Cecil, George acts impulsively—almost involuntarily—on his passion and kisses Lucy, again outside. The outdoor setting may suggest a brief freedom from societal constraints.
Themes
Society, Manners, and Changing Social Norms Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon