A Room with a View


E. M. Forster

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The Sacred Lake Symbol Icon
In contrast, indoor spaces are generally symbolic of enclosure, restriction, and even oppression. In a conversation with Cecil, Lucy admits that she can only imagine him in a room with no windows. This suggests that Lucy associates Cecil (and her relationship with him) with a kind of closed-off restriction, even imprisonment, as she is trapped in the relationship and the relationship itself is trapped within the structures and expectations of traditional society. Given the importance of interior and exterior spaces in the novel, the motif of a view becomes equally important—as one might guess from the novel’s title, as well as from the mentions of views at the beginning and end of the novel. The idea of a room with a view represents a comfortable existence with some access to the immense freedom of the outdoor world. Lucy begins the novel desiring such a room, and successfully ends the novel at last in one with George. But the idea of a view can be read in a different way, as well. At the end of the novel, Lucy is still indoors, and can only look out at the open, free outdoors—thus, one could argue that she does not fully escape the constraints of mainstream society and only attains partial independence or freedom.
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The Sacred Lake Symbol Timeline in A Room with a View

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Sacred Lake appears in A Room with a View. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 9
Society, Manners, and Changing Social Norms Theme Icon
Sexism and Women’s Roles Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Beauty Theme Icon
...a little pool Lucy and Freddy used to bathe in as children, which they called The Sacred Lake . Cecil thinks that Lucy reminds him “of some brilliant flower that has no leaves... (full context)
Chapter 12
Society, Manners, and Changing Social Norms Theme Icon
Beauty Theme Icon
...calls within a ten-day window. Freddy, George, and Mr. Beebe leave to go to the Sacred Lake for a swim. (full context)
Chapter 14
Love Theme Icon
After the encounter near the Sacred Lake , Lucy had run into George again along with Mr. Beebe at the rectory. She... (full context)
Chapter 16
Sexism and Women’s Roles Theme Icon
Honesty Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
...say that Cecil doesn’t treat women well. For example, when they encountered George near the Sacred Lake , George tells Lucy that Cecil was “teaching you and your mother to be shocked,... (full context)