Top 10 Notes: A Room with a View

Born in 1879 in London, England, E. M. Forster was a writer, radio broadcaster and writer of musical works called libretto. Aside from short stories and essays, he was most well known for writing novels like “A Room with a View” and “A Passage to India.” Welcome to and in this installment of Mojo Notes, we’ll be exploring ten things you should know about E.M. Forster’s “A Room with a View.”

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This romance novel is also a critique of Edwardian era England. Welcome to and in this installment of Mojo Notes, we’ll be exploring ten things you should know about E.M. Forster’s “A Room with a View.”

#10: About the Author

Born in 1879 in London, England, E. M. Forster used the money he inherited from a relative to become a writer. After going to university, he spent his time writing, travelling and as a BBC Radio broadcaster. While he was alive, he published five novels, including the successful “A Passage to India.” He also wrote short stories and essays. He died in 1970.

#9: Influences and Inspirations

Forster made a name for himself as a writer that explored British society in the early 1900s. His third novel, “A Room with a View,” was no exception, though it was a lot less serious and more hopeful. In addition to its critique of Edwardian era England, the book is also a romance. The influence of authors such as Samuel Butler can also be said to have inspired Forster since he is quoted in the novel.

#8: Settings and Era

“A Room with a View” is set during the early 1900s when the United Kingdom was under the reign of King Edward VII. It was a time of much repression. The first part takes place in Italy, which is seen as a more liberated country, while the second part returns the main characters to their homeland of England.

#7: Plot

The novel is narrated by an all-knowing third person and follows the story of Lucy Honeychurch as she tries to deal with her feelings for a young man she meets while staying at a hotel in Italy. Accompanied by her cousin Charlotte Bartlett, Lucy meets Mr. Emerson and his son George. The Emersons are looked down upon by Charlotte and others because of their unconventional manners. Despite this, Lucy finds herself drawn to George, especially once he helps her after she witnesses a murder. Upon returning to England, Lucy accepts a proposal from a high class Londoner named Cecil Vyse. However, her love for George deepens and circumstances bring them together.

#6: Lucy Honeychurch

As a young proper English woman, Lucy’s ability to play the piano symbolizes her status and coming-of-age. It also shows she has great passions and that she must learn to live in her own way. When she meets George Emerson and witnesses a murder in Italy, she begins to question herself even further. Her struggle to meet others’ expectations with her own wants is ultimately resolved when she chooses to be with George over Cecil.

#5: George Emerson

George Emerson and his father are staying at the same Italian hotel as Lucy and Charlotte. After losing his mother when he was young, George was raised by a free-thinking father, making him very open-minded. While they start off on the wrong foot, Lucy takes a liking to George’s non-traditional personality. He initially seems unhappy and unsure of himself, but later becomes more conversational and happy as he falls in love with Lucy.

#4: Charlotte Bartlett and Cecil Vyse

As Lucy’s older cousin, Charlotte is a symbol of the upper class. She’s very strict when it comes to maintaining the codes of English society and involves herself in Lucy’s affairs. Cecil is the complete opposite of George: he’s got the manners, the money and the connections and represents typical polite Edwardian society. But he’s also pretentious and doesn’t see women as equals. These differences and characteristics are all part of why Lucy breaks off their engagement.

#3: Values and Themes

One of the book’s main themes is the exploration of class and one’s status. Namely, a room with a view represents those people who live their lives freely and without firm observance of society’s rules while a room without is the world of the people in the novel. Another important theme is identity, and how people should try to figure out on their own what’s good or bad, despite what society dictates. Forster supported this more modern way of thinking even though it contrasted the conservative Victorian traditions of the Edwardian era.
Other themes important to the novel include love, youth and identity.

#2: Modern Popularity

First published in 1908, “A Room with A View” continues to be popular today because of its universal themes and values. As Forster’s most read work, it’s also considered one of the twentieth century’s best books written in English.

#1: Adaptations

While “A Room with a View” has been adapted for the stage and for the radio, it’s also been referenced in pop culture and adapted for the screen. Its most notable film version is 1985’s Oscar-nominated drama.

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