A Room with a View

Pdf fan
Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)

Indoors, Outdoors and Views Symbol Analysis

Indoors, Outdoors and Views Symbol Icon
Forster often launches into lyrical descriptions of natural scenery, suggesting that this kind of physical background to the novel’s action may be more than simply background. The outdoors repeatedly evokes a sense of both beauty and freedom. Both times that George kisses Lucy, they are outside, and Forster’s descriptions make it seem as if the natural scenery around them encourages George to act on his feelings. The outdoors is thus associated with freely following one’s feelings, regardless of the restrictions of society. Another example of this is when Freddy, George, and Mr. Beebe have a brief, carefree time playing around The Sacred Lake, an outdoor area that has its own symbolic associations of freedom and innocence.

Indoors, Outdoors and Views Quotes in A Room with a View

The A Room with a View quotes below all refer to the symbol of Indoors, Outdoors and Views. 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.

A+

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other A Room with a View quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Chapter 6 Quotes

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.

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

"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 19 Quotes

"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.

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).

Get the entire A Room with a View LitChart as a printable PDF.
A room with a view.pdf.medium

Indoors, Outdoors and Views Symbol Timeline in A Room with a View

The timeline below shows where the symbol Indoors, Outdoors and Views 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
Sexism and Women’s Roles Theme Icon
Education and Independence Theme Icon
...opens with the two at dinner, complaining that they had been promised rooms with a view, but have been put in rooms looking into a courtyard. Lucy adds disappointedly that the... (full context)
Society, Manners, and Changing Social Norms Theme Icon
...forth about which of them will take the first room to open up with a view, and are interrupted by a man at another dinner table. The man, named Mr. Emerson,... (full context)
Society, Manners, and Changing Social Norms Theme Icon
Sexism and Women’s Roles Theme Icon
...grasp the significance of this, and goes to her room, where she admires her new view. Charlotte looks around her new room and finds a sheet of paper with a huge... (full context)
Chapter 2
Education and Independence Theme Icon
Beauty Theme Icon
The next morning, Lucy wakes up, admires her view of the Arno river, and looks at various Italian men working on the other side... (full context)
Chapter 5
Society, Manners, and Changing Social Norms Theme Icon
...invites them to join him on a ride into the nearby hills, to get a view of Florence. (full context)
Chapter 9
Society, Manners, and Changing Social Norms Theme Icon
Sexism and Women’s Roles Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Beauty Theme Icon
...and that when she thinks of him, it is always in a room with no view. Cecil says that he would like her to associate him “with the open air.” They... (full context)
Chapter 13
Society, Manners, and Changing Social Norms Theme Icon
...dinner and stops to look out a window, where there is not much of a view. She runs into Freddy, who says that he wants to invite the Emersons to play... (full context)
Chapter 15
Society, Manners, and Changing Social Norms Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Beauty 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... (full context)
Chapter 19
Society, Manners, and Changing Social Norms Theme Icon
Honesty Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Beauty Theme Icon
...saint who understood.” Mr. Emerson tells her to remember “the mountains over Florence and the view.” He encourages her to fight not only for love, but for truth. She feels as... (full context)
Chapter 20
Society, Manners, and Changing Social Norms Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
...so long ago. They are happy together, and look out the window onto a pleasant view. George thinks of all “the forces that had swept him into this contentment,” thinking of... (full context)