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A Room with a View | Discussion Questions 11 - 20


In Part 2, Chapter 11 of A Room with a View, how does Mrs. Vyse exemplify upper-class society?

Mrs. Vyse has all the proper trappings of upper-class life. She lives in a "well-appointed flat" in London and throws pretentious parties attended by "the grandchildren of famous people." She encourages Cecil Vyse to "make Lucy one of us," noting that Lucy Honeychurch is "purging off the Honeychurch taint." It is clear that she considers their social rank to be superior to that of the Honeychurches. Living the sophisticated life, though, has taken a toll on Mrs. Vyse. The narrator writes that "her personality, like many another's, had been swamped by London." She has lost her individuality in conforming to society, and now relates to others by playing a role, rather than being herself. "Even with Cecil she was mechanical," the narrator says. This captures the way many upper-class people behaved at the time: losing themselves to fit in to the social system.

In Part 2, Chapter 13 of A Room with a View, what beliefs about women does Mrs. Honeychurch reveal when speaking of Miss Eleanor Lavish?

Mrs. Honeychurch does not consider women to be the equals of men. In Part 2, Chapter 13, she strongly disapproves of female novelists, "those women who (instead of minding their houses and their children) seek notoriety by print." She supports old-fashioned roles for women, such as staying home and caring for the family, rather than working outside the home or seeking fame or attention. She believes that "if books must be written, let them be written by men," which implies that, to her, men have superior intellects than women. All of these notions fall in line with the outgoing Victorian Era, which Mrs. Honeychurch represents.

In Part 2, Chapter 15 of A Room with a View, what does it signify when Lucy Honeychurch stops and then restarts playing the piano?

In Part 2, Chapter 15, Lucy Honeychurch begins by playing music that expresses her mood, a song about an enchanted garden that goes on and on. Her listeners don't care for it, and Cecil Vyse commands her to play a different song instead. Lucy closes the piano, denying Cecil's request. "Not very dutiful," says her judgmental mother. Lucy turns to discover that George Emerson has entered the room. She immediately turns and reopens the piano and begins to play. She wishes to show her loyalty to Cecil through this action: "Cecil should have the Parsifal, and anything else that he liked." Charlotte Bartlett then pipes up with "Our performer has changed her mind," implying that Lucy is playing now for Mr. Emerson instead. Lucy is flustered, and the music ends. The scene symbolizes Lucy's inner struggle with duty to Cecil versus her growing passion for George.

What notions does George Emerson express about views in Part 2, Chapter 15 of A Room with a View, and what do his ideas symbolize?

In Part 2, Chapter 15, George Emerson is unimpressed with the views from Windy Corner, stating that all views are alike. He quotes his father: "There is only one perfect view—the view of the sky straight over our heads, and that all these views on earth are but bungled copies of it." By this, Mr. Emerson means that to have a perfect view, or outlook on life, people must lift their eyes heavenward. Only the Divine is perfect, and only by emulating the Divine can humans hope to achieve perfection, too. For Mr. Emerson, this perfection includes living a life in harmony with nature. Influenced by his father, George ascribes to this belief as well. The assertion that all other views are "but bungled copies" is a metaphor about beliefs. Only God's view of the world is perfect, while the various beliefs of humans are flawed.

What themes are revealed through the examination of Cecil Vyce's personality in Part 2, Chapter 16 of A Room with a View?

In Part 2, Chapter 16, George Emerson's analysis of Cecil Vyse deals with the role of women in society. He says that Cecil Vyse "daren't let a woman decide. He's the type who's kept Europe back for a thousand years. Every moment of his life he's forming you, telling you what's charming or amusing or ladylike, telling you what a man thinks womanly." These views all reflect the Victorian-Era treatment of women, which George reviles. Lucy Honeychurch does not want to agree with George. However, once she has heard the truth about Cecil stated plainly, she cannot deny it. Cecil has been horrid to her family and friends from the outset, and she can no longer pretend she does not see it. The narrator states that "The scales fell from Lucy's eyes." She sees the truth about Cecil, and must drop her pretense of loving him, which is untrue.

How does Mr. Emerson use ideas about views and truth in Part 2, Chapter 19 of A Room with a View to convince Lucy Honeychurch to marry George Emerson?

In Part 2, Chapter 19, Mr. Emerson entreats Lucy Honeychurch to remember "the mountains over Florence and the view," expressing metaphorically the freedom Lucy felt in Italy and the rightness of George Emerson kissing her. The Italian view he refers to symbolizes a life of love and intellectual independence with George, rather than the stuffy, restrictive life Lucy would lead with Cecil Vyse. Mr. Emerson also forces Lucy to consider the importance of truth. For months she has regretted her lies and has wished she could be truthful. Mr. Emerson reinforces this theme, stating that "We fight for more than Love or Pleasure; there is Truth. Truth counts, Truth does count." Lucy can deny herself love and pleasure, but the need to tell the truth finally compels her to change her course of action.

In A Room with a View, how do indoor and outdoor scenes reveal George Emerson's personality?

George Emerson seems to be more at ease in nature than indoors. His indoor scenes are generally moody or turbulent. For example: his antisocial behavior at the dinner table at Pension Bertolini in Part 1, Chapter 1 his sullen mood in the Santa Croce church in Part 1, Chapter 2 the confrontational scene at Windy Corner in Part 2, Chapter 16 in which he confesses his love to Lucy Honeychurch In scenes set outside, George expresses himself more freely, and generally seems to be happier. Examples include: opening up about his feelings as he and Lucy walk along the Arno after the murder in Part 1, Chapter 4 seeing Lucy as joyous amidst the violets and kissing her in Part 1, Chapter 6 playing with childlike joy at the Sacred Lake with Freddy Honeychurch and Mr. Beebe in Part 2, Chapter 12 kissing Lucy again in the garden at Windy Corner in Part 2, Chapter 15 Being outdoors, or having a view, symbolizes many of George's attitudes and beliefs: personal freedom, connection with nature, and following one's passions. Being indoors symbolizes the strict social norms that George dislikes and rejects.

What statements does Miss Eleanor Lavish make in Part 1, Chapter 2 that demonstrate her views on social class in A Room with a View?

Miss Eleanor Lavish believes that she is open-minded toward others, but many statements she makes reveal her prejudice against the lower classes. Examples include: "How the driver stares at us, dear, simple soul!" Because the man is only a driver, Miss Lavish assumes that he must not be as intelligent or educated as herself and Lucy Honeychurch. "You will never repent of a little civility to your inferiors." Miss Lavish clearly states here that she considers some people to be inferior to herself. The fact that she believes in treating such people civilly does not excuse her prejudice, however. Referring to the Emersons, Miss Lavish says, "Let those two people go on, or I shall have to speak to them." She has no wish to associate with Mr. Emerson and George Emerson, who come from a working-class background originally. "I would like to set an examination paper at Dover, and turn back every tourist who couldn't pass it." Her implication here is that only upper-class people who have been "properly" educated would pass the examination, and that anyone who could not pass should not enjoy the pleasure of traveling abroad.

How does Mr. Beebe try to help the Emersons in A Room with a View, and why does he do so?

Mr. Beebe is kind-hearted, which is his motivation for helping many people in the novel. He likes the Emersons and their plain way of speaking, and he wants people to get along in general. Mr. Beebe helps the Emersons in several instances. Examples include: In Part 1, Chapter 3, the narrator notes that Mr. Beebe "had made a gentle effort to introduce the Emersons into Bertolini society, and the effort had failed." At Summer Street in Part 2, Chapter 12, Mr. Beebe tries to instruct the Emersons in how to fit into the social scene more smoothly, spelling out the unwritten rules: "Mr. Emerson, he will call, I shall call; you or your son will return our calls before ten days have elapsed." During the awkward walk to the Sacred Lake in Part 2, Chapter 12, Mr. Beebe tries to encourage friendship between Freddy Honeychurch and George Emerson by searching for topics of conversation that will get the young men talking.

How do the chapter titles in A Room with a View reflect the theme of truth versus pretense?

Several of the chapter titles in Part 2 refer directly of truth, or rather, lying. In Part 2, Chapter 16, "Lying to George," Lucy Honeychurch pretends that she loves Cecil Vyse as she sends away George Emerson, the man she really loves. Part 2, Chapter 17, "Lying to Cecil" narrates the rationale Lucy uses to end her engagement with Cecil. She claims that she is not in love with another man, but that is a lie. Part 2, Chapter 18 calls out Lucy for "Lying to Mr. Beebe, Mrs. Honeychurch, Freddy, and the Servants" as she makes her plans to flee to Greece. Lucy finds, though, that "Lying to Mr. Emerson" in Part 2, Chapter 19 is really quite impossible. She cannot maintain the false front she has been keeping up for everyone else as she speaks with the frail, sincere, old man.

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