A Room with a View

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Charlotte Bartlett Character Analysis

Charlotte is Lucy’s older cousin, who chaperons her trip to Italy. From a slightly older generation than Lucy, she believes in the traditional social norms of the Victorian period and is aghast when George kisses Lucy. She is genuinely concerned for Lucy and looks out for her, but Lucy becomes increasingly irritated with her, and by the later parts of the novel she outright dislikes her cousin. Lucy is especially upset when she learns that Charlotte has actually told Miss Lavish about Lucy and George’s kiss. Charlotte seems to be against George for the entire novel, but it is possible that she actually helps Lucy run into Mr. Emerson at the end of the novel, so that he can convince her to pursue her love for George. In the last chapter, George even suggests that Charlotte may have been a proponent of Lucy and George being together from the very beginning, and there is an implication that Charlotte may have herself denied her feelings and love, as Lucy almost does.

Charlotte Bartlett Quotes in A Room with a View

The A Room with a View quotes below are all either spoken by Charlotte Bartlett or refer to Charlotte Bartlett. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Society, Manners, and Changing Social Norms Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Classics edition of A Room with a View published in 2000.
Chapter 1 Quotes

I think he would not take advantage of your acceptance, nor expect you to show gratitude. He has the merit—if it is one—of saying exactly what he means. He has rooms he does not value, and he thinks you would value them. He no more thought of putting you under an obligation than he thought of being polite. It is so difficult—at least, I find it difficult—to understand people who speak the truth.

Related Characters: Mr. Beebe (speaker), Lucy Honeychurch, Charlotte Bartlett, Mr. Emerson
Related Symbols: Indoors, Outdoors and Views
Page Number: 8
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, the Emerson family--George and Mr. Emerson--has offered to do a favor for the far wealthier and more well-to-do group of Lucy and Charlotte. The Emersons overhear Lucy and Charlotte moaning about how their rooms don't have a nice view; they offer to exchange rooms with the two women, an offer that's appalling to both Lucy and Charlotte. Neither woman wants to be in a lower-class man's debt. But as Mr. Beebe, a friendly reverend, explains, the Emersons aren't trying to gain a favor for themselves--they're just trying to be nice.

Lucy and Charlotte are so sheltered and "well-mannered" that they look a gift-horse in the mouth--they wonder why on earth two strangers are offering them anything, and conclude that the strangers must have poor intentions. Beebe has to explain what, from a 21st reader's perspective, seems perfectly clear: the Emersons are just trying to be friendly. Manners and customs act like a veil between Lucy and the Emersons, obscuring the natural goodness of all the characters.

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Chapter 4 Quotes

This she might not attempt. It was unladylike. Why? Why were most big things unladylike? Charlotte had once explained to her why. It was not that ladies were inferior to men; it was that they were different. Their mission was to inspire others to achievement rather than to achieve themselves. Indirectly, by means of tact and a spotless name, a lady could accomplish much. But if she rushed into the fray herself she would be first censured, then despised, and finally ignored. Poems had been written to illustrate this point.

Related Characters: Lucy Honeychurch, Charlotte Bartlett
Page Number: 37
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Lucy tries with some difficulty to rebel against the strictness of her environment. She's just sat through a boring conversation, and now she wants to do something fun--she considers riding a tram. But then she checks herself--such an activity would be inappropriate for someone of her social station.

Lucy's thought process in this scene reflects how thoroughly she's been educated in "ladylike" ways (even as Forster presents the restrictions of being "ladylike" in darkly sarcastic terms). She's been trained to think that women should be calm and docile at all times, rather than pursuing their own selfish desires. Lucy's conception of women and femininity reflects the sexism of English society, but it also reflects the strength of English tradition and world-famous English manners.

Chapter 5 Quotes

"How wonderfully people rise in these days!" sighed Miss Bartlett, fingering a model of the leaning Tower of Pisa.
"Generally," replied Mr. Eager, "one has only sympathy for their success. The desire for education and for social advance—in these things there is something not wholly vile.”

Related Characters: Charlotte Bartlett (speaker), Mr. Eager (speaker)
Page Number: 49
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Charlotte and Mr. Eager, another British clergyman, have a conversation about the Emerson family. Charlotte notes that the Emersons have risen in British society very quickly: with hard work and a strong desire for education, they have made a fortune for themselves. Charlotte and Mr. Eager are both impressed with the Emersons' progress in society--up to a point. While they offer reserved compliments for the Emersons, they also qualify their compliments, suggesting a kind of wariness. Charlotte, a proud resident of the upper-classes of British society, sees something threatening in the progress of the working classes: if the poor are getting richer, then how much longer will the rich be around? (Note also the potentially erotic way that Charlotte strokes a phallic model of the Tower of Pisa--a sign, some critics have argued, for the repressed sexual desires of the British elite.)

Chapter 6 Quotes

Miss Bartlett had asked Mr. George Emerson what his profession was, and he had answered "the railway." She was very sorry that she had asked him. She had no idea that it would be such a dreadful answer, or she would not have asked him.

Related Characters: Charlotte Bartlett, George Emerson
Page Number: 60
Explanation and Analysis:

Here Charlotte asks Mr. Emerson about his job, and Mr. Emerson answers, simply, "the railway." Charlotte, a long-time member of the English elite, is shocked that anyone she knows could have such a horrible, down-to-earth profession. She's sorry she asked Mr. Emerson about his job at all.

From a modern perspective--and probably from Forster's, as well--there's nothing wrong with Charlotte's question, or Mr. Emerson's answer: he's a working-class guy, and proud of it. But the passage illustrates the assumptions that go into upper-class English manners. The reason that Charlotte feels comfortable asking Mr. Emerson a question like, "what do you do?" is that she's expecting an answer--whenever she asks that question of her wealthy friends, they say they're lawyers, doctors, bankers, etc. In short, Charlotte's system of politeness and manners rests on the assumption that all people are basically the same; i.e., they come from the same class. Charlotte doesn't like to "mix" with the Emersons because she becomes conscious of the limits of her manners.

Chapter 14 Quotes

I am no match for you in conversation, dearest. I blush when I think how I interfered at Florence, and you so well able to look after yourself, and so much cleverer in all ways than I am. You will never forgive me.

Related Characters: Charlotte Bartlett (speaker), Lucy Honeychurch
Page Number: 136
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Lucy confronts Charlotte about her interference in Lucy's life. Charlotte thinks she's looking out for Lucy and ensuring that she marries the best suitor available; thus, when Charlotte catches Lucy kissing George, she pressures Lucy to move on. Here, Lucy gets irritated with Charlotte for meddling in other people's business. She wants to make her own choices--and to Lucy's surprise, Charlotte apologizes for interfering.

Charlotte's apology to Lucy is interesting because she admits that Lucy is a more confident, independent person than Charlotte. Charlotte was supposed to be Lucy's chaperone--i.e., she was supposed to use her superior skills and experience to help Lucy make the right choices. Charlotte seems to realize that her "greater experience" doesn't mean anything--Charlotte has just been indoctrinated into English customs for longer than Lucy.

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Charlotte Bartlett Character Timeline in A Room with a View

The timeline below shows where the character Charlotte Bartlett appears in A Room with a View. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
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A young English woman named Lucy is vacationing in Italy with her significantly older cousin Charlotte. They are staying together at the Bertolini Pension in Florence, and the novel opens with... (full context)
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Lucy and Charlotte talk back and forth about which of them will take the first room to open... (full context)
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Charlotte tells Lucy that they will find another place to stay, but just then a young... (full context)
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Charlotte and Lucy leave dinner and talk with Mr. Beebe in another room. Charlotte asks about... (full context)
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Charlotte worries that she was rude in rejecting the Emersons’ offer and asked Mr. Beebe if... (full context)
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Lucy and Charlotte move into the Emersons’ rooms, and Charlotte explains to Lucy that she has taken the... (full context)
Chapter 2
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...river, and looks at various Italian men working on the other side of the river. Charlotte comes into the room and tells Lucy to hurry and get up, before “the best... (full context)
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...not sure what to think of all this abstract talk. George walks up and spots Charlotte in a nave of the church. Lucy joins her cousin and thanks the Emersons for... (full context)
Chapter 3
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...the Pension, he makes the same remark to Lucy herself. Lucy and Mr. Beebe discuss Charlotte, who has gone into the city with Miss Lavish. Mr. Beebe jokes that Miss Lavish... (full context)
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Mr. Beebe is puzzled by the surprising friendship between Charlotte and Miss Lavish. He wonders whether Italy is moving Charlotte away from “the path of... (full context)
Chapter 4
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...ride the tram, but decides not to because it would be “unladylike.” She remembers that Charlotte advised her that women’s “mission was to inspire others to achievement rather than to achieve... (full context)
Chapter 5
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Upon returning to the Pension, Lucy is surprised when Charlotte is not troubled by Lucy’s adventure in the piazza. The next morning, Mr. Beebe invites... (full context)
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Charlotte is pleased to receive Mr. Eager’s invitation, because she sees him as someone who is... (full context)
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...mentions that in this very piazza the day before, “the most sordid of tragedies,” occurred. Charlotte says that Lucy witnessed it, and claims responsibility for not chaperoning Lucy at the time.... (full context)
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An Italian vendor tries to sell Mr. Eager some photographs, but he ignores him. Lucy, Charlotte, and Mr. Eager go shopping and buy “many hideous presents and mementoes.” By the end... (full context)
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Charlotte realizes that Mr. Beebe is planning to take Miss Lavish with him on the ride... (full context)
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Charlotte and Lucy go to the bureau and receive letters. Lucy’s mother has written to tell... (full context)
Chapter 6
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In the afternoon, Lucy and Charlotte go for the ride with Mr. Eager. A young Italian man drives their carriage, and... (full context)
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...off together, the Emersons return to the carriage to talk to their driver, and Lucy, Charlotte, and Miss Lavish form a third group. (full context)
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Charlotte tells Miss Lavish that she asked Mr. Emerson what his profession was, and he answered... (full context)
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...Immediately upon seeing Lucy amid all the flowers, George kisses her, and almost as suddenly Charlotte arrives on the scene, sees what has happened, and calls out Lucy’s name. (full context)
Chapter 7
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Worried, Mr. Emerson asks Mr. Eager to ask the driver where George is. Charlotte, meanwhile, slips some money to the driver, who saw the kiss earlier, and asks him... (full context)
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Emotional, Lucy apologizes to Charlotte and says that Charlotte warned her to be careful, but she simply thought she was... (full context)
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Charlotte consoles Lucy and tells her that everything is okay. The storm calms down as the... (full context)
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Lucy talks with Charlotte in her room, and Charlotte asks her “what is to be done?” She asks how... (full context)
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Charlotte is reluctant to agree to Lucy’s plan, since Lucy is “so young and inexperienced,” that... (full context)
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As Charlotte and Lucy start to pack their things, Lucy feels inexplicably compelled to embrace Charlotte. Charlotte... (full context)
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Lucy insists that Charlotte is not to blame for anything, and promises that she will not tell her mother... (full context)
Chapter 8
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...says that he made a drawing in Florence, with Lucy represented by a kite and Charlotte holding the string. He says the symbolic string of the kite never broke, and Cecil... (full context)
Chapter 11
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Lucy receives a letter from Charlotte. Since the two parted after their trip to Italy, “a coolness had sprung up,” between... (full context)
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Lucy is annoyed by Charlotte’s letter, and writes a reply in which she says that she promised not to tell... (full context)
Chapter 13
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Lucy and Mrs. Honeychurch talk about the letter Lucy received from Charlotte. Mrs. Honeychurch asks about Charlotte’s boiler, which needed to be fixed. At dinner, Freddy asks... (full context)
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Lucy says that Charlotte mentioned Miss Lavish, a novelist, knowing that this will cause Mrs. Honeychurch to go on... (full context)
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Lucy tries to think of an excuse not to invite Charlotte, saying there is no room for her. She admits that both she and Cecil don’t... (full context)
Chapter 14
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To Lucy’s distress, Charlotte accepts the invitation to Windy Corner, and George Emerson accepts Freddy’s invitation for tennis, as... (full context)
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When she finally arrives, Charlotte goes to the wrong station, and has to pay for a cab. She offers to... (full context)
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Lucy tells Charlotte that she has promised not to tell anyone about the kiss with George, and plans... (full context)
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Fed up, Lucy says Charlotte was the one who told her to keep quiet about the kiss, and now is... (full context)
Chapter 15
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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... (full context)
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In the carriage, George greets Charlotte. Something in his eye suggests to Lucy that George has not told anyone about their... (full context)
Chapter 16
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...ever meet.” The narrator says that Lucy’s aim is “to defeat herself.” She calls for Charlotte, and then tells Charlotte about Miss Lavish’s novel. She asks Charlotte if she told Miss... (full context)
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Upset, Lucy now realizes why Charlotte encouraged her to tell Cecil about the kiss earlier and warned of Cecil finding out... (full context)
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Lucy and Charlotte go down to the dining room, where George is. Lucy tells George that she doesn’t... (full context)
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...dark,” and is “going back into it,” unless Lucy will be with him. Lucy and Charlotte do not say anything, and George leaves. Charlotte compliments Lucy on her bravery in dealing... (full context)
Chapter 17
Society, Manners, and Changing Social Norms Theme Icon
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...pretending to Cecil that she did not love anyone else. The narrator compares Lucy to Charlotte thirty years ago. (full context)
Chapter 18
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...her be, and goes to find Mrs. Honeychurch at work in her garden with Minnie, Charlotte and a servant. He goes inside and invites Lucy to join all of them at... (full context)
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Mr. Beebe talks with Charlotte, who is worried about gossip spreading regarding Lucy and Cecil. She says that Freddy shouldn’t... (full context)
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...“spurred . . . into knight-errantry,” to help “place her out of danger.” He and Charlotte go back to Windy Corner and convince Mrs. Honeychurch to let Lucy go to Greece... (full context)
Chapter 19
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...and says, “perhaps I spoke hastily.” Mrs. Honeychurch says that Lucy now reminds her of Charlotte, always taking back her own words. (full context)
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...her mother talk little on the way back home, and they head to pick up Charlotte from the church. On the way, they pass the Emersons’ home and see that it... (full context)
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At the church, Charlotte wants to stay for a service, so Lucy waits in Mr. Beebe’s study while Charlotte... (full context)
Chapter 20
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...of “the people who had not meant to help,” but nevertheless did, like Miss Lavish, Charlotte, and even Cecil. (full context)
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Lucy says that the room reminds her of Charlotte, and she shudders at the thought of “how horrible” it would be to grow old... (full context)
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George, though, thinks that Charlotte planned the event intentionally, so that Lucy would run into Mr. Emerson. He wonders if... (full context)