E. M. Forster and Virginia Woolf were the literary leaders of the Bloomsbury Group, a circle of intellectuals who gathered regularly in London in the first two decades of the twentieth century to discuss art and aesthetics. The circle also included the economist John Maynard Keynes, the painters Vanessa and Clive Bell, and the philosopher and critic Lytton Strachey. From the group’s wide-ranging discussions, Forster often received ideas about art that he later incorporated into his fiction. Forster became noted for his deft style, complex characters, and important themes.
Although he is best remembered for his acknowledged masterpieces Howards End (1910) and A Passage to India (1924), Forster’s earlier novels and short stories often point in the direction to which his later fiction turned. These earlier works are usually concerned with how people living in a modern world lack the passion necessary for a complete life. To make his point, Forster often contrasts the passionate intensity of people in southern European countries with the flaccid people of his native England. Typically, a character in one of these stories travels from England to Greece or Rome and there undergoes a revelation. In Forster’s famous short story “The Road from Colonus” (1903), for example, Mr. Lucas discovers passion at an idyllic spring in Greece. His daughter forces him to return to England, however, and he subsequently dies a miserable and lonely old man. In A Room with a View, on which Forster was working as he finished “The Road from Colonus,” Lucy Honeychurch discovers the passion of Italy. Lucy is more fortunate in her fate than is Mr. Lucas. Although she initially rejects the passion that Italy represents (indeed, she is shocked by it), she later comes to accept it as a fundamental part of life. The novel consequently ends happily with her in George Emerson’s arms as they honeymoon in Florence.
Forster struggled to write A Room with a View. Although he initially conceived it and started taking notes during a trip to Italy in 1902, he did not complete the novel until 1908, after he had already published two other novels, Where Angels Fear to Tread...
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Essay on A Room With A View by Edward Morgan Forster
504 Words3 Pages
The Subtle Heroine
A Room with a View, by Edward Morgan Forster, presents the story of Lucy Honeychurch, a young woman belonging to English “high society.'; Foster 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 (Bantam Intro-back cover),'; 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. Foster develops and utilizes Lucy’s internal struggle as a means of transforming her from…show more content…
Next, Foster brilliantly introduces the character of Cecil Vyse, a “medieval'; and high standing Englishman who, while is an acceptable suitor, really only sees Lucy as another pretty possession by his side. Cecil’s most important function ironically enough, is to serve as a “mirror'; for Lucy. For by seeing his snobbish and downright crude mannerisms, Lucy receives a likely image of what she herself could become if she were to marry Cecil for convention and not for passion. Becoming disgusted with Cecil’s behavior, she breaks off her engagement with him, yet still cannot distinguish whether she is doing it because of his crude and snobbish nature or because of her love for George, which she has still yet to admit.
Finally, in a heated, tearful, and heart-warming debate, Mr. Emerson (George’s father) gives Lucy the last ounce of strength that she needs to complete her transformation from a petty young woman to a subtle heroine. Mr. Emerson sees right through her false excuses for breaking off with Cecil and forces her to realize her genuine feelings of love for George. Lucy succumbs to her passion and overcomes the confining condition of her social class. She tells her family and friends of her love for George Emerson, refusing to hold on to her “distinguished and proper'; behavior, giving into her true desire, and transforming from a petty young woman to a subtle heroine.
Forster, E.M. A Room with a View, New York: