A Room with a View can be seen as a romance novel, revolving around the romantic plot of Lucy and her decision between George and Cecil. Through Lucy’s relationships with these two men, we see two different kinds of love. With Cecil, Lucy has a rational relationship with gradually growing affection, of which her family approves. He is from a respectable social background, and her mother is pleased at the match between Lucy and him. By contrast, Lucy’s relationship with George is confusing to her and irrational. It grows out of sudden moments of immediate attraction in ways that traditional society finds inappropriate. Whereas Cecil politely asks for Lucy’s hand in marriage three times, and asks her permission to kiss her once they are engaged, George impulsively embraces and kisses Lucy twice—once when she is already engaged to Cecil.
Lucy herself is unaware of her own feelings for George for most of the novel. She gradually convinces herself that she loves Cecil and denies any affection for George until the very end of the novel. At last, though, her true feelings come to the surface, and she realizes how she feels. Forster thus shows that one cannot force or engineer love, as Cecil and Lucy try to do. True love is more of an unintentional, irrational experience that often surprises those who feel it. Through Lucy’s experiences, the novel seems to suggest that one can try to stifle or suppress love, but never entirely get rid of it. Lucy can only ignore her true feelings for George for so long.
But, even once Lucy realizes that she does not love Cecil and starts to acknowledge her feelings for George, she doesn’t immediately pursue her love, and only ends up with George because she coincidentally (or perhaps with Charlotte’s help) runs into Mr. Emerson, who then convinces her to follow her heart. As George opines at the end of the novel, many people and things help Lucy and him end up together (including, for example, Mr. Emerson and Mr. Beebe). While Forster may be accused of sentimentality in his championing the inevitable victory of true love, he is at least realistic insofar as he shows that such love—while it may seem fated or destined to be—doesn’t simply come about by itself. George has to take the initiative to kiss Lucy, while Lucy has to take the bold step of breaking off her engagement to Cecil. It is only when George, Lucy, and other characters take deliberate action that love can triumph.
Love Quotes in A Room with a View
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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."
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?
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.
"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.'"
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.