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    Required Reading | January 16, 2015

    Required Reading: Books That Changed Us

    We tend to think of reading as a cerebral endeavor, but every once in a while, it can spur action. The following books — ranging from... Continue »

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Room With a View (00 Edition)


Room With a View (00 Edition) Cover

ISBN13: 9780141183299
ISBN10: 0141183292
Condition: Student Owned
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Publisher Comments:

This Edwardian social comedy explores love and prim propriety among an eccentric cast of characters assembled in an Italian pensione and in a corner of Surrey, England. A charming young English woman, Lucy Honeychurch, faints into the arms of a fellow Britisher when she witnesses a murder in a Florentine piazza. Attracted to this man, George Emerson--who is entirely unsuitable and whose father just may be a Socialist--Lucy is soon at war with the snobbery of her class and her own conflicting desires. Back in England she is courted by a more acceptable, if stifling, suitor, and soon realizes she must make a startling decision that will decide the course of her future: she is forced to choose between convention and passion. The enduring delight of this tale of romantic intrigue is rooted in Forster's colorful characters, including outrageous spinsters, pompous clergymen and outspoken patriots. Written in 1908, A Room With A View is one of E.M. Forster's earliest and most celebrated works.


Visiting Italy with her prim and proper cousin Charlotte as a chaperone, Lucy Honeychurch meets the unconventional lower-class Mr. Emerson and his son, George. Upon her return to England she becomes engaged to the supercilious Cecil Vyse, but finds herself increasingly torn between the expectations of the world in which she moves and the passionate yearnings of her heart. As Forster writes, "You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you." More than a love story, A Room With a View is a perceptive examination of class structure and a penetrating social comedy.

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Judith Marks, October 21, 2014 (view all comments by Judith Marks)
A Room with a View, EM Forrester. I recently had the privilege of seeing a new musical in Seattle of this story which was charming. It was written and produced by Portlanders and is headed for Broadway (fingers crossed) and it inspired me to read the book. It is a delightful story with an early feminist point-of-view that takes place at the early part of the 20th and is set in both Florence, Italy and the English countryside. It was a time when young women were governed by the stricter mores of the day Thank you Powells for even having an excellent hard-cover edition at a reasonable price to add to my personal collection. I know at some time I will want to reread this wonderful little book.
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Megan11, May 15, 2011 (view all comments by Megan11)

E.M. Forster’s classic novel A Room with a View tells of a romantic story between two unlikely lovers while exploring themes such as the power of love over society’s wishes and the equal treatment of women. In the book a young girl named Lucy falls in love with an awkward outcast of society, George, but refuses to recognize her feelings towards him. She gets engaged to Cecil, a young snobbish, stuck up man. Cecil does not recognize her personality and talents. Lucy is forced to make a decision between what is socially acceptable and true love. In the end, she chooses true love. I would recommend this book to young women because it is most relatable to them but I encourage others to read it as well. My overall reaction is it was a little hard to get into because of the classical style of writing but I enjoyed it. The romantic plot kept me interested and I appreciate the happy ending. I also like the ideas of empowerment of women and love conquers everything.

Edward Morgan Forster was born into an upper-middle class family on January 1st, 1879. When Forster was just two years old his father passed away. Forster was raised by his mother and great aunt in London. I speculate that the idea of empowerment of women is present in several of Forster’s novels as a result of their strength and independence when raising Forster. Forster studied history, philosophy, and literature at King’s College, Cambridge and graduated in 1901 with a Bachelor of Arts. After graduating he visited Italy and Greece with his mother. He wrote the first half of A Room with a View while he was in Italy. Forster became an active member of the Bloomsbury Group, who was known for their opposition to Victorian traditions and manners. Forster died at the age of 90 on June 7th, 1970.

Along with background about Forster, it is important to take into consideration when Forster was writing this book and the setting of the story, which is assumed to be around the same time period as when the book was written. Women’s rights was a major issue during the early 20th century. Countries around the world had just started to grant women’s rights. Forster makes his opinions on women’s rights clear through the thoughts and actions of his characters, especially the relationship between Lucy and Cecil, in his novel A Room with a View. The location of the setting is also important to recognize. In the novel Italy symbolizes natural beauty and romance while England is regal and less carefree. The locations parallel the two men in Lucy’s life.

The main points in the book include a murder Lucy witnesses, Lucy and George’s first kiss, Lucy breaking up with Cecil, and Lucy getting together with George in a search for independence and quality. The importance behind the murder can be analyzed by evaluating the symbolism of a post card Lucy buys. Lucy’s nude postcard of “Birth of Venus” (45) is symbolic of Lucy loosing her virginity. Charlotte disapproves of the postcard but Lucy buys it anyway. After the murder, the postcards were covered in blood and George threw them in the river. Lucy reacted by saying “I did mind them so, and one is so foolish, it seemed better that they should go out to the sea- I don’t know; I may just mean that they frightened me” (48). The narrator then remarks “Then the boy verged into a man” (48). This is a very suggestive statement, conveying to the reader that George has taken Lucy’s virginity and lost his as well. Forster’s use of structure and diction of the conversation between Lucy and George relays the idea that Lucy has in a way lost her virginity. Obviously she has not literally done so but Lucy is confused about her sexuality and wants to explore it. The next main point is Lucy and George’s first kiss. Although Lucy refuses to come to terms with her feelings for George, Forster utilizes the setting to convey Lucy’s feelings. The valley in which George kisses Lucy for the first time is symbolic of Lucy allowing herself to come to terms with her feelings. Forster chooses the setting to include to introduce the setting by saying “the view was forming at last; she [Lucy] could discern the river, the golden plain, other hills” (70). This description suggests Lucy is opening up to the world and has finally allowed herself to feel passion. The next major event is Lucy and Cecil’s break-up. There is an abundant amount of foreshadowing leading up to their break-up. Freddy, Lucy’s uncle, has doubts about Cecil he cannot fully articulate. Freddy’s doubts are the first example of foreshadowing Lucy breakup with Cecil because of Cecil’s bad character. Forster includes several other instances of foreshadowing as the plot continues. Cecil disapproves of the Honeychurch’s acquaintances after having tea with them. Lucy and Cecil’s awkwardly kiss in the woods and have no romance or passion for each other. Lucy and Cecil’s argue about who would be fit to stay in Harry Otway’s small house. When Lucy travels to London to meet Cecil’s family she feels uncomfortable and even has a nightmare during the trip. Upon return to Windy Corner, where Lucy lives, Mrs. Honeychurch starts to recognize Cecil’s disrespect during a tea party with Ms. Butterworth. The last example of foreshadowing is when George kisses Lucy for a second time in Lucy’s kitchen. Finally, George and Lucy unite. Lucy’s decision to be with George is important for two reasons. First, it establishes the power of love over society’s expectations. Secondly, it conveys the strength of women because Lucy decides to go against society to seek a relationship in which she is respected and considered an equal.

Overall the book achieves its goal by the storyline, use of symbolism, Lucy’s journey as she comes of age, and Lucy’s acceptance of her emotions. Ideas suggested by the book include love and happiness overpowers everything and women should be treated as equals to men. One part that was left out of the book is the consequences of Lucy choosing to be with George at the end of the novel. Comparing this book with other romantic novels, I would say it has similar themes but is classically written. This novel had both convincing parts and parts that I had a hard time believing. The first kiss between George and Lucy, the way Lucy is treated by her family and Cecil, and Lucy’s relationship with music are all parts of the book that are realistic and I easily believe could happen. One part I was not satisfied with was the reader is to assume at the end of the novel that George and Lucy live happily ever after because there is no follow up on their relationship.

Forster uses simple language but uses a good amount of detail when describing images. The scenery was usually coherent with Lucy’s feelings during that scene. The plot was simple, straightforward, and dramatic. The p[point of view helped develop the characters. A Room with a View is written in third person omniscient. The narrator tells the story of a young girl, Lucy, and her journey to finding love. The narrator focuses on the Lucy’s thoughts but also tells the reader the thoughts of Mr. Beebe, Cecil, and George. The reader’s ability to know the intimate and confused thoughts of Lucy allow the reader to feel a personal and emotional connection with her character therefore lead the reader to care more about the outcome of Lucy’s relationships. Foster included the thoughts of the other three characters to make the reader aware of Cecil’s shallowness and George’s love for Lucy. Foster uses Cecil and George’s thoughts as a persuasion technique to get the reader to believe George and Lucy should be together. It is also important to note the narrator is not a character in the story and therefore is all-knowing of the actions of all the characters. This enables the reader to see how foolish some of the actions some of the characters take. The tone is relaxed but also passionate.

In conclusion, I found A Room with a View to be thought provoking and well written. I stayed entertained in the plot and the themes are valuable life lessons.
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Product Details

Bradbury, Malcolm
Forster, E. M.
Bradbury, Malcolm
Penguin Books
New York :
Humorous Stories
British and irish fiction (fictional works by
Young women
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Penguin Classics
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
from 12
7.76x5.09x.48 in. .37 lbs.
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Room With a View (00 Edition) Used Trade Paper
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Product details 240 pages Penguin Books - English 9780141183299 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Visiting Italy with her prim and proper cousin Charlotte as a chaperone, Lucy Honeychurch meets the unconventional lower-class Mr. Emerson and his son, George. Upon her return to England she becomes engaged to the supercilious Cecil Vyse, but finds herself increasingly torn between the expectations of the world in which she moves and the passionate yearnings of her heart. As Forster writes, "You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you." More than a love story, A Room With a View is a perceptive examination of class structure and a penetrating social comedy.

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