A Room with a View | Study Guide

E.M. Forster

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A Room with a View | Part 2, Chapter 14 : How Lucy Faced the External Situation Bravely | Summary



In Part 2, Chapter 14, Lucy Honeychurch prepares herself mentally for seeing George Emerson again at his upcoming visit to Windy Corners. She recalls their second encounter soon after the pond incident, at the Rectory. She remembers how "his voice moved her deeply, and she wished to remain near him." The narrator muses that the reader might conclude that she loves George, though "a reader in Lucy's place would not find it obvious." Mr. Beebe also comments on the changes in George, who seems happier than he was in Italy. "He is waking up," the clergyman says.

Charlotte Bartlett arrives for her visit at the wrong station, and has to take a cab to Windy Corners. Freddy Honeychurch pays for the cab, and Charlotte insists on paying him back. After much confusion, she and Lucy go into the house to look for change. Charlotte takes the opportunity to grill Lucy about George, and whether she has told Cecil Vyse the secret she has been hiding. Lucy has not, and assures Charlotte there is no need to. She is certain that nobody who knew of the kiss would talk about it now. She also claims that George has no feelings for her, and that George had merely "lost his head" among the violets when he kissed her. Lucy even tries to convince Charlotte that George and Mr. Emerson, or "Papa," as she breezily calls him, make a good addition to the neighborhood. Lucy puts an end to the topic with a casual dismissal: "Suppose we don't talk about this silly Italian business anymore." Despite her denials, though, Lucy finds the memories of Italy "throbbing a little more vividly in her brain."


Lucy Honeychurch must constantly give herself pep talks to act as she is "supposed to," even if it is against her own feelings and nature. Her encounter with George Emerson at the pond in Part 2, Chapter 12, was not at all how she had imagined their first encounter would go, and it has thrown her for a loop. This new, happier George draws her in, and she finds herself thinking of him more and more. Mr. Beebe's observation that George is "waking up" is exactly right. George is beginning to embrace life; he has found a source of hope in Lucy. George may realize that Lucy loves him, and to him, it is only a matter of time until they are together. As the narrator suggests, this may be plain to an outsider (the reader), but it's not so easy for Lucy to see.

As usual, Charlotte Bartlett makes a mountain out of a molehill over paying for the cab. An exasperated Lucy is jolted by how quickly Charlotte springs the topic of George when they are alone. It occurs to Lucy that perhaps "all this worry about cabs and change had been a ruse to surprise the soul." Charlotte meddles relentlessly in Lucy's business, even though Lucy has made it clear where she stands on George and wants Charlotte to drop the subject. Charlotte may be wilier than Lucy has given her credit for. This isn't the first time that Charlotte has been sneaky. Readers may recall Part 1, Chapter 6, in which Charlotte whispers over "private" matters with Miss Eleanor Lavish during their stay in Italy. Charlotte, too, has her secrets.

Lucy's claim that George has no feelings her rings false; the reader wonders if she can possibly believe her own statement. Or, perhaps she is so infatuated with him herself that, like many confused young girls in love, she just isn't sure of his feelings. At any rate, it seems easier for her to deny the whole thing and carry on with her plan to marry Cecil in January. She is clearly, stubbornly letting her head lead the way, rather than her heart. But her heart will not let her forget the vivid, beautiful memories of George and her attraction to him, which continues to grow with each encounter.

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