Guilty PleasuresByAaron Thomas LamForMs. Kathryn YamENG3U1-02January 10, 2018″It is always incomprehensible to a man that a woman should ever refuse an offer of marriage” As Jane Austen once said.
Victorian England was a man’s world, love was a creation of the Victorian values, and love was used to as a societal gain in status hence love between different social classes did not happen. In A Room with a View, the British social class system is depicted as both biased and prejudiced. The issue of division in Britain has always been that of a subjective approach, classifying people by categories. The story of George Emerson and Lucy Honeychurch is not unlike that of the Victorian Era love, there is love between the rich and the minor. Lucy Honeychurch and her chaperon, Charlotte Bartlett, arrive in Florence. They are troubled by the fact that they don’t receive the room they were promised to, a room with a view.
Later that night at supper, fellow guests the Emersons offer to exchange their rooms for those of Lucy and Charlotte. Despite their generous act of kindness tension still exists between the two families as Lucy Honeychurch and Charlotte are descendants of middle-class and the Emersons are of lower class. At the time of the Victorian Era, classism was preached, and interaction between different social classes were frowned upon.
Yet Lucy and George bond throughout the novel, however they live during the Victorian age and love between distinct classes are forbidden. Through A Room With A View, E.M Forster’s use of symbolism and conflicts demonstrates that the Victorian Era values have restricted many to find true love due to a division of class. This constant denial of “true love”, results in harming and bemusing the character emotions and to be truly happy. First of all, E.
M Forster uses symbolism of outdoor and indoors to demonstrate how the Victorian Era bounds the limitation of both Lucy and George.”For the first time she felt the influence of Spring. His arm swept the horizon gracefully;violets, like other things, existed in great profusion there…She had fallen on to a little open terrace, which was covered with violets from end to end…George had turned at the sound of her arrival. For a moment he contemplated her, as one who had fallen out of heaven.
He saw radiant joy in her face, he saw the flowers beat against her dress in blue waves. The bushes above them closed. He stepped quickly forward and kissed her.” (Forster 161).
The outdoors repeatedly evokes a sense of both beauty and freedom. Both times that George kisses Lucy, they are outdoors, and Forster’s descriptions make it seem as if the natural scenery around them encourages George to act on his feelings. The outdoor “view” from the hotel that Forster talking about is emblematic of a certain kind of ambition or lust for life. Characters associated with a view, or with the outdoors in general, are more vibrant, exciting, and connected with their own thoughts and desires such as Lucy. Lucy is a girl who is connected with her own thoughts and is the type of person who thinks outside the box, and is the type of person who thinks “what if” instead of “that will never happen”. The outdoor scenes aggressively attack, describe and symbolize the break out of Lucy and George’s strict class hierarchy rules that restrain their relationship to exist. As stated “marriage between two persons was permitted so long the couple intending to marry belonged to the same class” (Ward A. Mary).
Marriage was not only forbidden by families, it was frowned upon to marry out of someone’s class. In direct contrast to these characters with the “views” of outdoors, we have characters associated with rooms or indoor activities. Cecil is the prime example here; in fact Cecil can almost represent the inner type of people who cannot and do not break from their norm. Forster uses Cecil as a symbol of the opposite of advancing society, instead Cecil is the symbol of people who preach and practice those beliefs of Victorian Values, instead of accepting ingenious ideas and of the anew.
The second symbol music, symbolises the stress caused by the societal flaw of classism denying the love for George which erupts confusion within Lucy’s head and emotions. when we first meet Lucy, is the girl who has for all the feelings that are building up inside her. Lucy wants to love George, but with the pressure of her mother, and Charlotte and cultural standards, Lucy cannot fail to be accepted into the Victorian society so she uses music to relieve her stress to decide her choices. While Lucy plays music, she pours her spirit into Beethoven sonatas, an act that enables her to maintain a polite and predictable exterior when she’s not playing the piano.
When she plays, she is, as the narrator notes, “no longer either deferential or patronizing; no longer either rebel or a slave” (Forster 27). Instead, she is her own person, the genuine Lucy that isn’t allowed to come out in social situations. Society at the moment holds the power from her to be able to express her true loving for George, the flaw lies within the cultural difference and inability to accept what love is regardless of classism.
As of today, many people are able to love whomever they wish, we have crossed the stage of love within the same gender, but if without the breakouts of true love between those like George and Lucy, society would not accept such abasement. Through the use of symbols, it is explained that the society is clearly not allowing the acceptance of true love, thus being the flaw to evolve society one step closer to of ours. Miss Lucy Honeychurch is a girl inexperienced in the world of adulthood, love, and decision making.
With the amount of decisions forced upon her to make, she often faces many internal and external conflicts throughout her enchanting trip to Italy, where her journey is not only physical, but emotionally challenging too. Regardless of the conflict being within or surrounding Lucy, the novel displays countless acts and scenes that discourage true love due to how strictly society enforces the values of Queen Victoria. Firstly, character conflicts such as Charlotte who believes in the traditional social norms of the Victorian period and is aghast at the sight of the Emersons and discourage Lucy from having any contact with those out of her social class. “Miss Bartlett was startled.
Generally at a pension people looked them over for a day or two before speaking, and often did not find out that they would “do” till they had gone. She knew that the intruder was ill-bred, even before she glanced at him (Forster 6). Immediately, Charlotte starts classifying people by their actions, words, and appearances because of her mindedness and snobbery opinions swayed by the Victorian beliefs.
“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society”(Twain) as Charlotte feels no remorse for classing people she does not know. As Charlotte is Lucy’s older cousin, who also chaperons her trip to Italy, Lucy has the utmost respect for her. However Lucy becomes increasingly irritated with her, and by the later parts of the novel she outright dislikes her cousin.
Lucy is especially upset when she learns that Charlotte does not only disapprove of contact between George and Lucy, but also tells others about Lucy and George’s kiss. The character conflict that Charlotte inflicts not only causes Lucy to feel doleful, but puts boundaries for Lucy to stay away from George because it is practiced not socialize with people out of your class. This character conflict ends up causing a jumbo of mixed emotions and the start of self conflict within Lucy. The self conflict that rages within Lucy Honeychurch is the choice to whether follow the expectations of society, The combination of confusion and pressure sways Lucy off balance in life, and her goals become lost in it all as the narrator says “She was accustomed to have her thoughts confirmed by others … it was too dreadful not to know whether she was thinking right or wrong” (Forster 158).
The narrator’s commentary on Lucy Honeychurch here shows plainly that she does not know her mind, but rather follows the dictates of society in everything she does. Lucy’s struggle to define and act on her true beliefs. Lucy becomes so lost in her emotions, she forgets who she is.
Through countless scenes of being told loving a man of lower class is wrong, she has been bounded by the Victorian culture is lost “Taste not when the wine cup glistens/Speak not when the people listens/Stop thine ear against the singer/From the red gold keep thy finger” (Forster 198). Lucy Honeychurch sings this mournful tune from Sir Walter Scott’s “Lucy Ashton’s Song” after deciding that she will never marry. She imagines she will become a paragon of female virtue, untouched and morally impeccable. The unspoken context is that Lucy cannot admit she is in love with George Emerson; society considers their love improper, and thus, so does she.
If one is not allowed to love whomever they wish, then one will never find true happiness. In A Room With A View E.M Forster utilizes symbolism and conflicts to support that love between different social classes were not permitted due to the strict Victorian values. As a result characters are unable to find true happiness within their lifetime.
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