Forster makes it evident that the roles of landscape and setting play a significant part throughout his novel A Room with a View. They appear to play key stages among the journeys of different characters, particularly Lucy, who represses her emotions for so long until she is finally enlightened and see’s the truth. Furthermore, how Forster uses the light and dark to reflect the whole Renaissance theme of Italy. Moreover, we see how Forster develops Lucy’s mind throughout the novel, similar to the way Stevens in The Remains of the Day slowly begins to let us see that he is an unreliable narrator, and the truth starts to come out.
The opening chapter of A Room with a View sees Lucy in the Bertolini, her first impression is that “it might be London” and this is significant due to the closed-minds of the other guests. Malcolm Bradbury believes Forster was able “to unmask the illusions, repressions, snobberies and hypocrisies of British Social life” and in A Room with a View this is immediately introduced through Miss Bartlett who is constantly “repressing Lucy”, moreover we get the impression that she is being “narrow-minded” which is also reflected through the setting around them.
The significance of the Piazza is that “the great square was in shadow”, which represents the relation with Italy and the renaissance period. Moreover Forster suggests Lucy is looking for life, “nothing ever happens to me” and the idea of the Piazza in shadows relates to the shadows create on renaissance art to give them a more life-like appearance. Furthermore this is where the murder takes place, this is significant because Lucy is feeling lost and death is easiest the way to show her she has like life. (C)
Forster uses the hillside to show how the beauty of the Italian landscape allows Lucy to see the truth, even just momentarily, and let her feelings for George take over. Malcolm Bradbury includes that “Italy and the Mediterranean had imprinted themselves on Forster as they did for so many generations of Britons and other north European of literary and romantic disposition.” This could be very true as Forster includes that “Italians will know the way”, moreover Lucy was “enveloped” by the “light and beauty” on the hillside were she romantically connected with George. To add to this the image of “violets from end to end” creates the image of “water” as does the “blue waves” from the “flowers” which symbolises re-birth and the giving of life, similar to baptism. During The Remains of the Day, Stevens visits “a beautiful little spot” which is pond. It was here that Stevens suggests he is an unreliable narrator as he comes to the conclusion that on more than one occasion he has lied about his employment under Lord Darlington. Like Lucy, the “beauty” of water compels Stevens to see the truth, even though after both events, Lucy and Stevens continue to lie to themselves.