“A Room with a View”, by Edward Morgan Forster, presents the story of Lucy Honeychurch, a young woman belonging to English high society. Forster places this young maiden in a state of conflict between the snobbery of her class: the “suitable and traditional” views and advice offered by various family members and friends, and her true heart’s desire. This conflict “forces” Lucy Honeychurch to choose between convention and passion and throws her into a state of internal struggle, as she must sift through the elements of her social conditioning and discern them from her true emotions and desires [Ford]. Forster develops and utilizes Lucy’s internal struggle as a means of transforming her from a pretty young woman, to a subtle heroine.
Lucy Honeychurch is introduced to the reader as a somewhat pretty young woman, obviously ignorant to the ways of the world, who is being chaperoned by her cousin, Charlotte Bartlett, while vacationing in Italy. Numerous conversations over matters of dress, the acceptability of various pieces of furniture, and other vacations, suggest the snobbish nature of both Lucy and Charlotte. In fact, matters of convention encompass Lucy’s life until George Emerson’s “caddish,’ yet passionate, display of affection takes over. Lucy and Charlotte are both very alike because they hold true the values of upper class English society. Lucy constantly struggles with how she is supposed to act, think, or even associate herself with: most conflictingly George Emerson, a railroad worker of the lower class (Ford). Their union is forbidden by Miss Bartlett by telling Lucy that he is a socialist, that she shouldn’t associate herself with him and just overall patronizing George excessively. Charlotte and Lucy also share the same renouncement of words when they are talking to people to seem more polite. At the beginning of the novel, Lucy is feebly trying to fit in with the members of the upper class by living by certain class values and rules of propriety but they all don’t form her with any opinion or route of action. By the end of the novel, she has formed her own thoughts, opinions, and actions and takes full control of her fate and breaks it off with Cecil to marry George, her true love. Lucy also encounters muddles, as pointed out by Mr. Emerson, which she realizes and fixes by the end of the novel. She wasn’t following her own heart and thoughts, but making decisions based on the wants of her social class, not her own. Lucy Honeychurch makes a dramatic transformation throughout the novel form a sweet, naïve heroine to a strong, independent woman (Schwarz). In the novel the best representation of class snobbery is Miss Charlotte Bartlett, Lucy’s chaperon in her travels to Italy and Greece. Not only is Miss Bartlett unimaginative and patronizing to the Emerson’s but she is the hindrance to Lucy’s true happiness; being with George Emerson. Lucy is at first naïve and dependent on others views for her own at the beginning of the novel. In the opening scene, Lucy and Miss Bartlett meet the Emerson’s who offer them a room with a view. In the text; Forster gives us insight into Miss Bartlett: “Miss Bartlett, though skilled in the delicacies of conversation, was powerless in the presence of brutality. It was impossible to snub any one so gross. Her face reddened with displeasure. She looked around as not to say, "Are you all like this?"(Forster 11). And two little old ladies, who were sitting further up the table, with shawls hanging over the backs of the chairs, looked back, clearly indicating "We are not; we are genteel"(11). "Eat your dinner, dear, she said to Lucy, and began to” toy again with the meat that she had once censured.”(6). Lucy replies in this manner to the apparent indifference between Miss Charlotte and the Emersons: “Lucy mumbled that those seemed very odd people opposite” (6). Furthermore, during the dinner conversation at the pension Miss Bartlett Commands Lucy To: "Lucy,...
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