How does Forster critique the social codes and attitudes of the Edwardian Period?
The social codes of the Edwardian period governed society, and although adhering to them allowed social acceptance, it also involved the sacrifice of an individual’s essential freedoms. Throughout Room with a View, Forster criticised his society’s contemporary rules and expectations so that he could edify the reader about the institutionalised problems of his era. Forster portrays the class system as a rigid structure valuing status that was ultimately detrimental for one’s sense of fulfilment and individuality. The women in Room with a View are disempowered by social regulations that dominated their ability to behave freely. Although opposing these social codes and attitudes was taboo, Forster values the personal growth that results from questioning these ideals. The Edwardian class system encouraged attitudes of condescension and arrogance, demoralising those of a lower status and restricting the privileged few to sheltered life with strict behavioural codes. Forster critiques the hypocritical ideals of the upper classes, they may have material possessions, however, these do not satisfy the freedom and happiness they ultimately desire. Miss Lavish’s pretentious and condescending attitude, proclaiming ‘they walk through my Italy like a pair of cows’, highlights Forster’s use of similes which greater emphasises arrogance shown towards lower classed citizens. The strict codes that are upheld within the elite classes allow for a sheltered life of privilege; however these privileges are not all what one wants out of life. Lucy witnesses passionate love for the first time and due to social class regulations, we see imagery of Lucy emerging with jealousy ‘Lucy had a spasm of envy. Granted that they wished to misbehave, it was pleasant for them to be able to do so,’ which exposes her envious of a lower class that aren’t bound with regulations. Lucy, George and Mr Emerson are capable...
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