A Room with a View

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George Emerson Character Analysis

George is a young man who has been brought up by his father to be critical and skeptical of traditional social norms. He believes in the equality of the sexes and shares in his father’s optimistic hope for a kind of utopian future of freedom and equality. George is perhaps the most modern character in the novel—his depression and abstract, lofty concerns with whether the universe “fits” or not foreshadow the kind of overly self-conscious characters of high modernist fiction. George loves Lucy and twice acts on his impulse to kiss her, even once while she is engaged to Cecil. George delivers a stirring speech to Lucy about Cecil’s sexism and essentially makes her realize that Cecil is not right for her, but it is only after speaking to Mr. Emerson that Lucy finally accepts her love for George, and the two marry and run off together to Italy.

George Emerson Quotes in A Room with a View

The A Room with a View quotes below are all either spoken by George Emerson or refer to George Emerson. 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 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.

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She did not answer. From her feet the ground sloped sharply into view, and violets ran down in rivulets and streams and cataracts, irrigating the hillside with blue, eddying round the tree stems collecting into pools in the hollows, covering the grass with spots of azure foam. But never again were they in such profusion; this terrace was the well-head, the primal source whence beauty gushed out to water the earth.
Standing at its brink, like a swimmer who prepares, was the good man. But he was not the good man that she had expected, and he was alone.
George had turned at the sound of her arrival. For a moment he contemplated her, as one who had fallen out of heaven. He saw radiant joy in her face, he saw the flowers beat against her dress in blue waves. The bushes above them closed. He stepped quickly forward and kissed her.

Related Characters: Lucy Honeychurch, George Emerson
Related Symbols: Indoors, Outdoors and Views
Page Number: 63
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, we're reminded of the link between spiritual, personal spring and literal, natural spring--it's natural beauty and vitality that inspires George in his "scandalous" action here. George suddenly shows his feelings for Lucy by kissing her, and she seems to kiss him back. Notice that it's George who kisses Lucy, not the other way around: not only is George the man (and therefore, in a late 19th century novel, the one who'd make the move), he's also the lower-class lover, suggesting that he's less restricted by the rigid manners and social norms of the aristocracy. Lucy has been shown to be equally energetic and imaginative, and yet her energy has been repressed for most of her life--and even here, she is shocked and scandalized by George's kiss, refusing to admit her own feelings.

Chapter 14 Quotes

It is obvious enough for the reader to conclude, "She loves young Emerson." A reader in Lucy's place would not find it obvious. Life is easy to chronicle, but bewildering to practice, and we welcome "nerves" or any other shibboleth that will cloak our personal desire. She loved Cecil; George made her nervous; will the reader explain to her that the phrases should have been reversed?

Related Characters: Lucy Honeychurch, George Emerson, Cecil Vyse
Page Number: 132
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, the narrator addresses a "wrinkle" in the text: why doesn't Lucy accept the obvious truth that she's in love with George Emerson? Can it be possible that Lucy is so divorced from her own feelings that she deludes herself into thinking that she's in love with Cecil, an arrogant, thoroughly unlikable man?

According to the narrator, this is exactly the case. The strange thing about repression, we've been told, is that it encourages people to lie to themselves. Lucy doesn't know how unhappy she is until she meets George Emerson: she's been so conditioned to think in class terms and mirror the politeness of her peers and elders that rebelling against her society's rules is almost impossible. Lucy prepares for a life with Cecil, not entirely aware of what a huge mistake she's making. The narrator further suggests that the function of novels like this one is to enlighten readers--to alert them to their own blindness and repression by telling them stories.

Chapter 19 Quotes

"I taught him," he quavered, "to trust in love. I said: 'When love comes, that is reality.' I said: 'Passion does not blind. No. Passion is sanity, and the woman you love, she is the only person you will ever really understand.'"

Related Characters: Mr. Emerson (speaker), George Emerson
Page Number: 183
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Mr. Emerson talks to Lucy Honeychurch about her upcoming engagement to Cecil, and Lucy doesn't bother to correct him. Mistakenly certain that Lucy is engaged to Cecil, and therefore will never end up with George, Emerson mourns that he told his son to trust in his love for other people. Emerson feels that by raising George to be open and honest about his feelings, he encouraged George to fall for people of all kinds--including Lucy, a woman far outside George's class.

The passage is a great reminder of the social and psychological differences between George's family and Lucy's. George--perhaps because of his lower class situation, it's suggested--has been raised to believe in the importance of honesty and sincerity. Lucy has been trained to be proper and reserved about her feelings--to the point where she can't even tell Mr. Emerson that she's no longer engaged to Cecil.

Chapter 20 Quotes

Youth enwrapped them; the song of Phaethon announced passion requited, love attained. But they were conscious of a love more mysterious than this. The song died away; they heard the river, bearing down the snows of winter into the Mediterranean.

Related Characters: Lucy Honeychurch, George Emerson
Related Symbols: Indoors, Outdoors and Views
Page Number: 196
Explanation and Analysis:

In this happy, lyrical ending, Lucy and George end up together, having journeyed through Italy once again and reunited. George and Lucy are thrilled to be with each other again: they confess their love for one another, and embrace tenderly. It would seem that they've finally escaped from repression and the control of English proper manners.

And yet, what will George and Lucy's "happy ever after" look like? Forster doesn't tell us what's going to happen, should Lucy and George get married. He leaves the possibilities open, characterizing George and Lucy's love as mysterious and foreign--and also intimately associated with freedom and nature. If Cecil was like an enclosed room, then George is a "room with a view"--one connected to the wildness, freedom, and unpredictability of nature, but still enclosed and sheltering (Lucy doesn't end up totally free, after all).

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George Emerson Character Timeline in A Room with a View

The timeline below shows where the character George Emerson appears in A Room with a View. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Society, Manners, and Changing Social Norms Theme Icon
...at another dinner table. The man, named Mr. Emerson, says that he and his son George are willing to exchange their rooms (which have a view) with Lucy’s and Charlotte’s. Lucy... (full context)
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...Mr. Emerson that she will accept the offer, and Mr. Beebe goes and brings back George Emerson, who says that his father is bathing, but promises to relay the information. (full context)
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Lucy and Charlotte move into the Emersons’ rooms, and Charlotte explains to Lucy that she has taken the room George was in,... (full context)
Chapter 2
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...the church of Santa Croce. There, they happen to see Mr. Emerson and his son George. (full context)
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...does not speak English. Lucy explains to Mr. Emerson what has happened to her, and George suggests that she join him and his father. Lucy politely declines, and Mr. Emerson says... (full context)
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...and leads his congregation outside. Lucy recognizes the reverend as an Englishman named Mr. Eager. George tells Lucy that his father has driven Mr. Eager out of the church, and often... (full context)
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Lucy suggests that Mr. Emerson could have been more tactful, and George balks at the idea of tact. For a brief moment, Lucy regards George and thinks... (full context)
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Mr. Emerson tells Lucy that he knows what is wrong with George. He says it is “the old trouble: things won’t fit.” He quotes some poetry and... (full context)
Chapter 4
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...stabbed and, turning toward her, bleeds profusely. Stunned, Lucy looks around and happens to see George Emerson not too far away, before fainting. When she comes to, she is in George’s... (full context)
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Lucy suddenly thinks of her photographs, which she dropped when she fainted. George goes to pick them up and Lucy tries to walk off without him, but he... (full context)
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On the boat, George throws Lucy’s photographs into the river. Lucy is shocked, but George explains that they were... (full context)
Chapter 5
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...like Mr. Eager are more interested in gory details about the matter than someone like George Emerson. (full context)
Chapter 6
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...Italians to mythological figures. In the carriage are Mr. Beebe, Mr. Eager, Miss Lavish, the Emersons, Lucy, and Charlotte. Mr. Beebe had invited the Emersons along without asking Mr. Eager first,... (full context)
Love Theme Icon
Lucy thinks about George Emerson, who she thinks is eager to “continue their intimacy.” She is cautious “not because... (full context)
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The driver misunderstands Lucy and directs her over to where George is. Lucy walks through a wooded area and then stumbles onto a terrace with flowers... (full context)
Chapter 7
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Love Theme Icon
...says that bad weather is coming in, and wants to hurry, so everyone leaves without George, who has wandered off on his own, leaving him to walk back. A storm begins... (full context)
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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... (full context)
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...thought she was “developing.” She tries to explain what had happened on the river with George, and then assures Charlotte that she is “not to blame,” for the kiss. But then... (full context)
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...Back at the Pension, Lucy thinks of “how she should describe,” what has happened with George and her—“all her sensations, her spasms of courage, her moments of unreasonable joy, her mysterious... (full context)
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Honesty Theme Icon
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...Charlotte asks her “what is to be done?” She asks how they are to “silence” George, and Lucy says that she is sure George will not say anything about the event... (full context)
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...can be.” Charlotte asks what Lucy would have done if Charlotte had not happened upon George and her, and Lucy has no answer. Charlotte wishes that a “real man” like Lucy’s... (full context)
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...“worked like a great artist,” and taken advantage of Lucy’s “craving for sympathy and love.” George finally returns to the Pension and Lucy considers saying goodbye to him, but Charlotte finds... (full context)
Chapter 11
Society, Manners, and Changing Social Norms Theme Icon
Sexism and Women’s Roles Theme Icon
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...letter, Charlotte says that Miss Lavish recently stopped by Lucy’s neighborhood and happened upon the Emersons. Charlotte says that she is worried and warns Lucy that she should tell Mrs. Honeychurch... (full context)
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...mother about the kiss, and will keep that promise. She reiterates that she thinks the Emersons are “respectable people,” and says that she will not complain about them. Lucy is unsure... (full context)
Chapter 12
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...become smarter than he is, as “she will read all kind of books,” with Cecil. George enters, looking like his “face wanted washing,” and Freddy asks if George wants to go... (full context)
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...on the practice, and tells Mr. Emerson to return calls within a ten-day window. Freddy, George, and Mr. Beebe leave to go to the Sacred Lake for a swim. (full context)
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On the way, Mr. Beebe comments on the coincidence of the Emersons meeting Lucy in Florence and then ending up so near to Windy Corner. George says... (full context)
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Mr. Beebe stays out of the water at first, but both George and Freddy tell him that the “water’s wonderful.” Mr. Beebe sees no one else around... (full context)
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Suddenly, Mr. Beebe alerts George and Freddy that people are coming by. Mrs. Honeychurch, Cecil, and Lucy happen to be... (full context)
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Sexism and Women’s Roles Theme Icon
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...before coming inside, so as not to get a cold. After putting some clothes on, George, “barefoot, bare-chested, radiant and personable against the shadowy woods,” says hello to Lucy, and Mrs.... (full context)
Chapter 13
Society, Manners, and Changing Social Norms Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
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...Butterworth, Lucy thinks about her awkward bow earlier, and how she wasn’t prepared to encounter George outside on such on occasion, where he greeted her “with the shout of the morning... (full context)
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...asks about Charlotte’s boiler, which needed to be fixed. At dinner, Freddy asks Lucy about George, and Mrs. Honeychurch asks her how well she knew George in Florence. Lucy says that... (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 well. The narrator says that Lucy faces “the... (full context)
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After the encounter near the Sacred Lake, Lucy had run into George again along with Mr. Beebe at the rectory. She feels that she managed the meeting... (full context)
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...even more so when Charlotte asks if Lucy has told Cecil about her past with George. (full context)
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Lucy tells Charlotte that she has promised not to tell anyone about the kiss with George, and plans to keep her promise. Charlotte says that it would be even more dreadful... (full context)
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...and tells Lucy that she is “so well able” to look after herself. Charlotte calls George a cad (a bad man), and Lucy says that Cecil told her there are two... (full context)
Chapter 15
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...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,... (full context)
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George doesn’t feel any regret for taking the Miss Alans’ place, and talks about how “there... (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... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
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After tennis, Cecil reads aloud to George and Lucy from the novel he is reading, which he finds comically bad. The novel... (full context)
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Lucy asks George what he thinks of the view from Windy Corner. George says that all views are... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
Chapter 16
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...that she is “a visitor, not a chaperon.” Lucy asks if Charlotte can talk to George as she did in Florence, but Charlotte doesn’t think she can help. Lucy resolves to... (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 want a long, dramatic discussion, and simply tells... (full context)
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George goes on to say that Cecil doesn’t treat women well. For example, when they encountered... (full context)
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Lucy retorts that George is criticizing Cecil for telling her what to think, when he is essentially doing the... (full context)
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...enters and tells Lucy there is time for another set of tennis. She says that George has had to leave, so Freddy asks Cecil to play. Cecil again declines, saying that... (full context)
Chapter 17
Society, Manners, and Changing Social Norms Theme Icon
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...joined the ranks of those who have “sinned against passion and truth,” in pretending to George that she did not love him and pretending to Cecil that she did not love... (full context)
Chapter 19
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...understand why Lucy wants to keep the news a secret (in reality, Lucy doesn’t want George to find out), but Lucy insists. (full context)
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...that Lucy must be tired of Windy Corner. Not wanting to reveal the truth about George, Lucy does not provide any reason for her trip, and she tells her mother that... (full context)
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...they head to pick up Charlotte from the church. On the way, they pass the Emersons’ home and see that it is locked up and has no lights on. They learn... (full context)
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...church. There, Lucy is surprised to find Mr. Emerson, who immediately apologizes on behalf of George. (George has apparently told his father about what happened with Lucy.) Mr. Emerson is apologetic... (full context)
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Mr. Emerson says that George has “gone under,” and is in a sort of depression, just as his mother was... (full context)
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...Greece. But Mr. Emerson says that he must go to London to take care of George. He again mentions Cecil, and speaks as if Cecil and Lucy are still engaged. Lucy... (full context)
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Lucy still thinks that she cannot marry George, and she stammers, “I have misled you—I have misled myself.” Mr. Beebe tells Lucy to... (full context)
Chapter 20
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...Delphi before going to Constantinople. The novel turns to Florence, and the Pension Bertolini, where George and Lucy are in the very room that Lucy stayed in so long ago. They... (full context)
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The narrator notes that while George is absolutely happy, Lucy’s happiness is not complete, as her family has not forgiven her... (full context)
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George, though, thinks that Charlotte planned the event intentionally, so that Lucy would run into Mr.... (full context)