A Room with a View

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A Room with a View Quotes

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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About old Mr. Emerson—I hardly know. No, he is not tactful; yet, have you ever noticed that there are people who do things which are most indelicate, and yet at the same time—beautiful?

Related Characters: Lucy Honeychurch (speaker), Mr. Emerson
Page Number: 10
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Lucy thinks about the offer she's received from the Emerson family. Lucy is too reserved to accept the offer upfront, and yet she's strangely charmed by the fact that the Emersons made it in the first place: she's so used to people who refuse to speak their minds (out of supposed politeness) that she can scarcely believe that the Emersons would voice their intentions so clearly.

The passage could be considered a satire of the severity and strictness of late-Victorian / Edwardian manners, but it's also meant to signal that Lucy stands somewhat apart from her culture. Where others would be irritated by the Emersons' frankness, Lucy now starts to like the Emersons, and recognizes that they're just good people, even if they're not speaking the same "language."

Chapter 2 Quotes

Buon giorno! Take the word of an old woman, Miss Lucy: you will never repent of a little civility to your inferiors. That is the true democracy. Though I am a real Radical as well. There, now you're shocked.

Related Characters: Miss Lavish (speaker), Lucy Honeychurch
Page Number: 16
Explanation and Analysis:

Tom Wolfe coined the term "radical chic" to define well-to-do people who like to "dabble" in progressive ideas (socialism, anti-colonialism, gender equality, etc.) without ever really committing to them, mostly because they want to distinguish themselves from their stuffier peers. Miss Lavish, based on this passage, could easily qualify as an exemplar of radical chic: she's a wealthy, successful woman, but she likes to brag about being radical to her other wealthy friends. Lavish makes a big show of greeting random people in the street, but we get the sense that she does so not because of her commitment to democracy or humanism, but because she wants to distinguish herself from people like Lucy, whom she's supposed to be guiding through the city. Lavish continues to blab to Lucy as she shows her Florence. (Notice the way that Lavish calls the people she greets "inferior" without so much as a second thought--which isn't exactly "progressive" of her.)

Of course, it contained frescoes by Giotto, in the presence of whose tactile values she was capable of feeling what was proper. But who was to tell her which they were? She walked about disdainfully, unwilling to be enthusiastic over monuments of uncertain authorship or date. There was no one even to tell her which, of all the sepulchral slabs that paved the nave and transepts, was the one that was really beautiful, the one that had been most praised by Mr. Ruskin. Then the pernicious charm of Italy worked on her, and, instead of acquiring information, she began to be happy.

Related Characters: Lucy Honeychurch
Page Number: 19
Explanation and Analysis:

After a time, Lucy is abandoned by Miss Lavish, and ends up all alone in a church. Lucy has heard that the church is famous for its beautiful Giotto frescos (Giotto was a famous early Renaissance painter), but she's so ignorant of art that she's unable to determine which paintings, exactly, are by Giotto. Lucy is a fish out of water. Her proper English education and excellent manners don't prepare her for her time in Italy, unless she has someone there to tell her which art she is supposed to find the most "beautiful."

And yet Lucy's lack of familiarity with Giotto and art actually help her get more out of the visit. Instead of treating Florence like a specimen, to be analyzed and critiqued, she lets the city wash over her, dazzling her with its mysteries. She doesn't just appreciate the art she's supposed to (because it's famous), but starts to appreciate all the beauty around her. Lucy begins to move away from her strict upbringing and simply be happy.

I think that you are repeating what you have heard older people say. You are pretending to be touchy; but you are not really. Stop being so tiresome, and tell me instead what part of the church you want to see. To take you to it will be a real pleasure.

Related Characters: Mr. Emerson (speaker), Lucy Honeychurch
Page Number: 21
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Lucy runs into her old "benefactors," the Emersons. The Emersons are looking around the same church that Lucy's exploring, and when a reverend makes a misstatement about Giotto, Mr. Emerson, the elder of the two, calls the reverend out for his error. Lucy, shocked that Emerson could have been so tactless, tells Emerson that he should have been more polite. Emerson fires back that politeness itself is overrated--why not say what's on one's mind?

Emerson's monologue in the passage is a great example of how tact can be overrated. Emerson is clearly a kind, likable person, even if his manners are sometimes lacking (he offers to show Lucy around the church, which is certainly very helpful). Emerson's behavior could be said to stand for Forster's sometimes romanticized view of the lower classes: they lack specific social training, but their overall "spirit" is good.

Chapter 3 Quotes

It so happened that Lucy, who found daily life rather chaotic, entered a more solid world when she opened the piano. She was then no longer either deferential or patronizing; no longer either a rebel or a slave. The kingdom of music is not the kingdom of this world; it will accept those whom breeding and intellect and culture have alike rejected.

Related Characters: Lucy Honeychurch
Page Number: 28
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Lucy escapes from the overwhelming nature of day-to-day life by playing the piano. Music is always an important theme in Forster's novels, and the passage is a great example of how music helps Forster's characters escape from reality for a while. Lucy lives in a strict, repressive world, in which her tiniest mannerisms are policed for "properness." When she plays the piano, however, no such restrictions apply: she feels that she can be free and open with herself--she's not obeying anyone, or following anyone's orders, and indeed is able to inhabit an altogether different plane of existence. In one sense, then, the passage is a confirmation of the strictness of Lucy's world--if something as simple as playing music can free her for a moment, then her world must be very repressed indeed. (Note also that the piano is an Italian invention--once again Forster links Italy to freedom from repression.)

All his life he had loved to study maiden ladies; they were his specialty, and his profession had provided him with ample opportunities for the work. Girls like Lucy were charming to look at, but Mr. Beebe was, from rather profound reasons, somewhat chilly in his attitude towards the other sex, and preferred to be interested rather than enthralled.

Related Characters: Lucy Honeychurch, Mr. Beebe
Page Number: 31
Explanation and Analysis:

Mr. Beebe is a shy, religious man, who takes a great liking to Lucy and her friends. Beebe seems to be very proper in his manners, and yet here, it's suggested that he has no real desire for the opposite sex: he can take an interest in their souls, and he can form friendships with them, but he can't love them. One could argue that Beebe's relative disinterest in women is a manifestation of his condescending priestly attitude, or of a virtuous adherence to his priestly vows. But it's also been suggested that Mr. Beebe, at least in this passage, is something of a self-portrait by Forster himself (who was homosexual).

"Mr. Beebe—old Mr. Emerson, is he nice or not nice? I do so want to know."

Mr. Beebe laughed and suggested that she should settle the question for herself.

Related Characters: Lucy Honeychurch (speaker), Mr. Emerson, Mr. Beebe
Page Number: 34
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Lucy asks Mr. Beebe for his opinion of the Emerson family. Lucy is interested in the Emersons, especially after spending time with them in the churches of Italy. And yet she's not really confident enough in her own opinion to conclude that the Emersons are either "nice or not nice" (additionally, the fact that she divides all of humanity into two vacuous categories, nice and not nice, suggests her emotional immaturity).

Mr. Beebe has already claimed that he doesn't like the Emersons because of their socialist views: Beebe is a more traditional English figure, a friendly reverend who has duties to his congregation--as a result, he distrusts political radicals. But Beebe is also friendly and open-minded to encourage Lucy to figure things out for herself: he wants her to grow into a mature woman, rather than relying on authority figures.

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.

There is much that is immortal in this medieval lady. The dragons have gone, and so have the knights, but still she lingers in our midst. She reigned in many an early Victorian castle, and was Queen of much early Victorian song. It is sweet to protect her in the intervals of business, sweet to pay her honour when she has cooked our dinner well. But alas! the creature grows degenerate. In her heart also there are springing up strange desires. She too is enamoured of heavy winds, and vast panoramas, and green expanses of the sea. She has marked the kingdom of this world, how full it is of wealth, and beauty, and war—a radiant crust, built around the central fires, spinning towards the receding heavens. Men, declaring that she inspires them to it, move joyfully over the surface, having the most delightful meetings with other men, happy, not because they are masculine, but because they are alive. Before the show breaks up she would like to drop the august title of the Eternal Woman, and go there as her transitory self.

Page Number: 37
Explanation and Analysis:

Forster continues to expound on the notion of a medieval lady--i.e., the kind of woman that Lucy has been trained to be. For centuries, English women were taught that they should be docile and obey men at all times, allowing men to attain happiness for themselves while women watched and "inspired" them from the sidelines.

And yet Forster makes it clear that the notion of a calm, docile, obedient woman is breaking down in Lucy's lifetime, if indeed it was ever stable. Women like Lucy don't just want to be obedient--they want to explore the world, love men, see nature--to essentially allow themselves to be human beings rather than ideals. Women have strange, romantic desires just like men, and they should be able to explore such desires.

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

At this point Mr. Emerson, whom the shock of stopping had awoke, declared that the lovers must on no account be separated, and patted them on the back to signify his approval. And Miss Lavish, though unwilling to ally him, felt bound to support the cause of Bohemianism.

Related Characters: Mr. Emerson, Miss Lavish
Page Number: 57
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, the Emersons, Lucy, Charlotte, Mr. Eager, and Miss Lavish are in a carriage. The carriage driver has picked up a young woman, whom he tries to kiss as he drives the carriage (causing the horses to lurch from side to side). Mr. Eager, upset with such an open display of sexuality, asks the driver to dismiss the young woman, but Mr. Emerson insists that the driver should be able to show his love for his girlfriend. Miss Lavish, who's less committed to progressivism than Emerson, but loves to seem to be progressive (or "Bohemian"), agrees.

The humorous passage illustrates some of the political and cultural differences between the English characters. Despite coming from the same country, Mr. Emerson and Mr. Eager illustrate two opposing views of how people should behave--either with freedom or with "good manners." Miss Lavish doesn't really care either way, but because romantic freedom is "hip" these days, she goes along with Mr. Emerson. Miss Lavish, the tie-breaking vote, suggests that England is moving, however slowly, in the direction of sexual frankness.

Fifty miles of Spring, and we've come up to admire them. Do you suppose there's any difference between Spring in nature and Spring in man? But there we go, praising the one and condemning the other as improper, ashamed that the same work eternally through both.

Related Characters: Mr. Emerson (speaker)
Related Symbols: Indoors, Outdoors and Views
Page Number: 59
Explanation and Analysis:

Mr. Emerson, upset with Mr. Eager's prudishness concerning the romantic carriage driver, mutters about the universality of human freedom. He notices the beautiful spring weather, and the natural beauty that spring creates. He wonders aloud why human beings try to censor the "spring" of the soul, even as they celebrate the literal spring of nature.

Mr. Emerson's analogy is interesting because it suggests that liberty--sexual, moral, etc.--in an inevitable, even cyclical, part of the human experience. There's no virtue in trying to repress what is natural and god-given--and yet that's exactly what the late Victorian society symbolized by Mr. Eager has done.

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.

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 9 Quotes

Beware of women altogether. Only let to a man. . . . Men don't gossip over tea-cups. If they get drunk, there's an end of them—they lie down comfortably and sleep it off. If they're vulgar, they somehow keep it to themselves. It doesn't spread so. Give me a man—of course, provided he's clean.

Related Characters: Mrs. Honeychurch (speaker)
Page Number: 97
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Miss Honeychurch tells Lucy that she prefers men to women in almost every way. Women, she claims, are persistently troublesome. Men, on the other hand, are troublesome, but only in the short term--they have a way of getting over their problems quickly and efficiently.

Miss Honeychurch's monologue illustrates her internalized misogyny. Honeychurch is the most primly Victorian character in the novel (no small feat), and thus she sees the world in the most repressive terms. Women, she believes, should be proper and polite at all times, and try not to make trouble (which, she assumes, is in their nature). Of course, Miss Honeychurch isn't just a sexist. As she suggests when she insists that men be "clean," Honeychurch is almost something of a classist, reluctant to admit any of the "coal-dusted masses" into her life. 

No, Lucy, he stands for all that is bad in country life. In London he would keep his place. He would belong to a brainless club, and his wife would give brainless dinner parties. But down here he acts the little god with his gentility, and his patronage, and his sham aesthetics, and every one—even your mother—is taken in.

Related Characters: Cecil Vyse (speaker), Lucy Honeychurch, Sir Harry Otway
Page Number: 98
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Cecil tells Lucy that he finds Sir Harry Otway to be insufferable. Harry, Cecil argues, has horrible taste: he's loud and aggressive, and doesn't know how to tell beauty from ugliness. Cecil also seems to resent that everybody else like Harry, even Lucy's mother, Miss Honeychurch.

The passage is significant because it shows Cecil to be a pretentious and rather hypocritical person. Cecil is an upper-class character, too--he just doesn't have as much land or property as Sir Harry. Cecil is a snobbish aesthete, who looks down on people because they don't have any taste. Cecil's mistake, of course, is to ignore the fact that taste is largely a product of one's class, as well. Cecil would probably look down on most of the working-class families of England, as well as Sir Harry--he'd continue sneering at their bad taste.

On a subtler level, Forster here also critiques the very idea of "taste." As elsewhere in the novel, he contrasts having good taste--that is, knowing what is "supposed" to be beautiful--versus really engaging with beauty on an emotional or spiritual level. Cecil knows how to appreciate art and beauty in theory, but he never really connects with or is moved by it.

"I had got an idea—I dare say wrongly—that you feel more at home with me in a room."
"A room?" she echoed, hopelessly bewildered.
"Yes. Or, at the most, in a garden, or on a road. Never in the real country like this."
"Oh, Cecil, whatever do you mean? I have never felt anything of the sort. You talk as if I was a kind of poetess sort of person."
"I don't know that you aren't. I connect you with a view—a certain type of view. Why shouldn't you connect me with a room?"
She reflected a moment, and then said, laughing:
"Do you know that you're right? I do. I must be a poetess after all. When I think of you it's always as in a room. How funny!"
To her surprise, he seemed annoyed.
"A drawing-room, pray? With no view?"
"Yes, with no view, I fancy. Why not?"
"I'd rather," he said reproachfully, "that connected me with the open air."

Related Characters: Lucy Honeychurch (speaker), Cecil Vyse (speaker)
Related Symbols: Indoors, Outdoors and Views
Page Number: 99
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Cecil shows that he's a good observer, if not necessarily a good man. He correctly recognizes that Lucy, whom he loves, thinks of him as existing in a closed room without a view. Cecil further deduces that Lucy thinks of him as being in a closed room because they considers him stuffy, unimaginative, and generally repressive.

Cecil's existence stands apart from that of the Emerson family. Cecil is an aesthete, and his arrogant emphasis on style and taste are purely self-referential: he's more interested in his own tastes and styles than he is in the world itself. Other characters in the novel, such as the Emersons, are more open and free in their thinking, reflecting their genuine love and fascination with the world (and thus suggesting they have a "connection with the open air"). Lucy strives to be free and unrepressed, and so she's less attracted to Cecil than Cecil would like.

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.

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.

Chapter 16 Quotes

The scales fell from Lucy's eyes. How had she stood Cecil for a moment? He was absolutely intolerable, and the same evening she broke off her engagement.

Related Characters: Lucy Honeychurch, Cecil Vyse
Page Number: 157
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Lucy has just had a long conversation with George. George tells Lucy the plain truth: Cecil isn't a particularly good man, despite the fact that he and Lucy and engaged to be married. He lists all the examples of Cecil's condescending behavior towards women--if he were to marry Lucy, George argues, he'd treat Lucy like a child, never letting her make up her own mind about anything. While Lucy isn't convinced of George's argument at the time, she begins to see that George was right all along; Cecil really is a condescending, sexist fool.

To emphasize the suddenness of Lucy's epiphany, Forster makes a Biblical allusion: in the Bible, when Saul (later the Apostle Paul) embraced Christianity, his temporary blindness was instantly healed, and the "scales" fell from his eyes. In other words, Lucy feels as if she's been blind her entire life, and can only now see Cecil for what he is. The fact that it's George's speech that prompts her epiphany suggests that, deep down, Lucy may have always found Cecil a little irritating, but she put up with him because her family and her culture demanded that she do so (in other words, her culture demanded that she play the part of submissive fiancee).

Of course, the irony of this is that Lucy only escapes one man (Cecil) telling her what to do by listening to another man (George) tell her what to do. In this way, Forster perhaps subtly critiques himself, and acknowledges that although he has created an empowered female character in Lucy, he is still a man speaking through her voice.

Chapter 19 Quotes

But I cannot see why you didn't tell your friends about Cecil and be done with it. There all the time we had to sit fencing, and almost telling lies, and be seen through, too, I dare say, which is most unpleasant.

Related Characters: Mrs. Honeychurch (speaker), Lucy Honeychurch, Cecil Vyse
Page Number: 179
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Miss Honeychurch talks to her daughter about her broken engagement to Cecil. Honeychurch doesn't really understand why Lucy has broken off the engagement, but she wants she news of the broken engagement to get out anyway. Mrs. Honeychurch is, as one might expect, a master of public relations: she knows that the best way to avoid a scandal is to be open and honest about the engagement; otherwise people will assume that Mrs. Honeychurch and her family are hiding something.

Mrs. Honeychurch's stated reasons for breaking the news of the broken engagement are fascinating: she suggests the danger of "being seen" as frauds. Respectability is the basic currency of the English upper-classes, and to be deceptive or devious in anything is the easiest way to lose respectability.

"I want more independence," said Lucy lamely; she knew that she wanted something, and independence is a useful cry; we can always say that we have not got it. She tried to remember her emotions in Florence: those had been sincere and passionate, and had suggested beauty rather than short skirts and latch-keys. But independence was certainly her cue.

Related Characters: Lucy Honeychurch (speaker)
Related Symbols: Indoors, Outdoors and Views
Page Number: 181
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Lucy proves how repressed and sheltered she is, even after she discovers her feelings for George Emerson. Lucy knows that she wants to break away from her strict English society, and yet she doesn't really understand how to go about doing so. Lucy remembers Italy as a place where she could be free of her social control: it was in Italy, after all, where she fell for George.

The tragedy of the passage is that Lucy has a hard time articulating her feelings of rebellion. She's been so conditioned to believe in the necessity of proper behavior that she can't think of any other way to conduct herself. All she can do is turn back to the word "independence," even though it doesn't really encapsulate what she truly wants.

"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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