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A Room with a View Character Analysis

By Miyavicake Feb 21, 2010 706 Words
In the second half of A Room With A View by E.M. Forster, the characters readily flout the rules of convention and disregard authority figures like Cecil as they enjoy themselves through games and other activities. Those characters, mainly the young people in the novel like Lucy, George, and Freddy, find themselves through pastime pursuits like bathing, bumble-puppy, an older form of tetherball, and tennis sans Cecil, whom they consider a killjoy, and the stuffy, proper social etiquette that he represents.

For example, when Freddy, George, and Mr. Beebe venture into the woods for a communal bath in the Sacred Lake without Cecil, they cast aside their clothes candidly for a refreshing dip in the pond. As soon as they jump in, Freddy and Mr. Beebe begin splashing each other and afraid of offending George, splash him "a little deferentially.” However, "all the forces of youth burst out" of George and he enthusiastically retaliates by “splash[ing],” “duck[ing],” and “dr[iving] them out of the pool.” Similarly, the men ignore their confining clothes which represent “civilized” society and its rules as they proclaim “Without [us] no enterprise shall begin,” and enjoy a good roughhousing in the woods. Contrary to the three naked men, Cecil, when he spots them with Mrs. Honeychurch and Lucy, immediately “feels that he must lead the women away” from the scene as he ultimately conforms to the proper notion that the spectacle is “no business of [the women],” that it is all too improper for them and that they should be “minded” in following his authority.

A few days later, Lucy, Freddy, and Minnie take advantage of Cecil’s absence to play a short round of bumble-puppy which escalades into a playful scuffle between the three. Because of Cecil’s "absence" and since Cecil isn’t there to sigh at their “childish” game, the group is able to play freely any way they want, for "one did not play bumble-puppy when he was there.” Completely absorbed in the game, Freddy, who "possessed the power of lashing little girls into fury," transforms Minnie from the “well-mannered” niece of Mr. Beebe into a “howling wilderness.” In that case, Freddy actually succeeds in disregarding all rules of convention and tradition as well as empowering Lucy and Minnie to follow his lead and forget about the domineering Cecil and to simply enjoy themselves.

Finally, in a “four set” of tennis, the players are having too much fun in the game and ignore Cecil while he reads and criticizes a “bad” novel aloud to them. When Freddy, Mr. Floyd, and George invite Cecil to partake in a men’s doubles game of tennis, Cecil refuses to "spoil the set" for he is "no good for anything” but the “books” that he is unable to free himself from along with his self-imposed restrictions and self-consciousness. Lucy, on the other hand, agrees to play and even admits during the game that she "liked music” but likes tennis “much ... better," that she prefers to "run about in comfortable clothes" than to "sit at the piano" and realizes that she is much more at ease frolicking outdoors than conforming to the “proper” rules of “upper society.” Indeed, Lucy finally finds herself when she is unrestrained and out in the open for she had been previously trapped indoors under Cecil's stifling gaze and the constant "fear of offend[ing] [him].”

Thus, regardless of the games they play or the activities they engage in, the characters in Forster’s novel never include Cecil in the fun. In the same way, Cecil fortunately refuses their invitations since he would disapprove of such “unrefined” “childishness” if he was ever present at their games. Because Cecil had a restrictive, aristocratic upbringing, he lives life believing in the proper conduct of the upper classes. Thus, Cecil cannot connect to his peers and the joy they get from the simple pleasures of a game and he therefore never learns to enjoy himself. Indeed, the uptight Cecil symbolizes the very consequence that when people who blind themselves with their pride and snobbery and “snub” the simple joys of games, life and nature will consequently lead dull and dreary lives.

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