A Room with a View | Study Guide

E.M. Forster

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Course Hero. "A Room with a View Study Guide." Course Hero. 12 Jan. 2017. Web. 23 Sep. 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/A-Room-with-a-View/>.

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Course Hero. "A Room with a View Study Guide." January 12, 2017. Accessed September 23, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/A-Room-with-a-View/.

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Course Hero, "A Room with a View Study Guide," January 12, 2017, accessed September 23, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/A-Room-with-a-View/.

A Room with a View | Plot Summary

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Summary

Part 1

In Part 1, the setting is Florence, Italy, at the beginning of the 20th century. Lucy Honeychurch and her older cousin Charlotte Bartlett are staying at the Pension Bertolini, a hotel or boardinghouse, with other English tourists. There they meet a lower-class pair of outspoken but kind men, Mr. Emerson and his son, George. The Emersons do not fit in with the status-conscious group and are snubbed by all but Lucy and Mr. Beebe, a clergyman. Lucy has a soft spot for the warmhearted Mr. Emerson and finds herself drawn to George in ways she cannot explain. George is sullen and rather depressed, questioning whether life is worth living. He is searching for meaning and begins to find it as he falls in love with Lucy.

Charlotte does her best to corral Lucy and keep her out of trouble. She does not want her young cousin entangled with the wrong sort of people—namely, the Emersons. The two women pass the days with more "polite" company: the Reverends Mr. Beebe and Mr. Cuthbert Eager; the Miss Alans, a pair of elderly spinster sisters; and an outlandish female novelist, Miss Eleanor Lavish. Miss Lavish and Charlotte quickly become confidantes, going on outings together and excluding Lucy from their whispered gossip.

One evening, a restless Lucy goes out on her own, seeking adventure. She witnesses a murder in the street near the pension. George Emerson is among the crowd, too, and rushes forward to catch Lucy as she faints from shock. As he escorts her home, they speak openly of the gruesome scene, each revealing vulnerabilities that would not usually be shared between near-strangers. Lucy's heart warms toward George as she sees his caring nature. Even so, Lucy asks him to keep the incident a secret to avoid gossip; she is still not sure she wants to be connected with a man of his sort.

A few days later, the pension guests go for a carriage ride in the country. The party splits up to explore the countryside, and Lucy is left to wander alone. She stumbles into a violet-covered field and finds George, who is overcome by passion and kisses her. Charlotte arrives at that moment to break up the scene. Later that night, Charlotte and Lucy pack to leave for Rome to escape the Emersons. They plan to stay at the same hotel as the Vyses, friends of the family. Lucy promises Charlotte not to mention the kiss to anyone, even her mother, thus beginning a web of lies that will grow over time into a crisis for Lucy.

Part 2

As Part 2 begins months later, Lucy is back in Summer Street, England with her family at their home, Windy Corner. Cecil Vyse proposes to her, and she accepts without much enthusiasm. Lucy doesn't seem to be in love with Cecil, having refused his marriage offer twice before, but he is smart, good-looking, and well-connected. Unfortunately, Cecil quickly alienates Lucy's family and friends through his rude, snobbish behavior. Lucy makes excuses for him, saying that someone from high society cannot be expected to enjoy simple country pleasures or simple country people. Her mother disagrees, insisting that bad manners are simply bad manners.

One day, Lucy learns that Sir Harry Otway plans to rent out a villa he owns in Summer Street. She suggests the Miss Alans as "suitable" tenants, but Cecil despises the idea. Unknown to Lucy, he recruits tenants for the villa himself: two lower-class men that he met by chance at an art gallery in London. Cecil considers it a great joke on snobbish Sir Harry, but the joke is on him. The men are Mr. Emerson and George, Cecil's rival for Lucy's love. Lucy is distressed at the news, and she fights with Cecil over his backhanded trick.

Soon thereafter, Cecil and Lucy go to London to visit his mother at her elegant apartment. Mrs. Vyse hosts a dinner party attended by the bored, snobbish elite. Lucy begins to realize how different their social circles are from her own Windy Corner set.

Meanwhile, the Emersons move into the villa. Freddy Honeychurch and Mr. Beebe invite George to go for a swim at a nearby pond. They are discovered running around naked like carefree children by Mrs. Honeychurch, Lucy, and Cecil, who have returned from London. Cecil hurries the ladies away, but not before Lucy notices that bare-chested George looks quite attractive.

Charlotte comes to visit, and Freddy invites George to play tennis. During the game, Cecil reads aloud from a romance novel which turns out to be Miss Lavish's work. She has written about the kiss between George and Lucy in Florence, though disguised with other names. George kisses Lucy again after hearing the passage. Furious, Lucy confronts Charlotte about revealing the secret kiss to Miss Lavish. She also orders George to leave and never come back. George confesses his love for Lucy, but she is unmoved, so he leaves. Lucy is disgusted with Cecil at this point, too, and breaks off their engagement the same evening.

Lucy plans a trip to Greece with the Miss Alans to avoid both George and the local gossip. Before she goes, though, she encounters Mr. Emerson at Mr. Beebe's rectory. Mr. Emerson makes her realize she really does love George. Lucy resolves to tell her family the truth, and marries George six months later. They honeymoon in Florence, staying in the same room with a view where it all began.

A Room with a View Plot Diagram

Climax123456789Rising ActionFalling ActionResolutionIntroduction

Introduction

1 Lucy and Charlotte meet the Emersons in Florence.

Rising Action

2 George and Lucy witness a murder, which brings them closer.

3 George kisses Lucy; Lucy and Charlotte then flee to Rome.

4 Cecil proposes to Lucy, and she accepts.

5 The Emersons move to Summer Street; George kisses Lucy.

6 Lucy breaks off her engagement with Cecil.

Climax

7 Mr. Emerson convinces Lucy to admit her love for George.

Falling Action

8 Lucy tells her family she loves George and will marry him.

Resolution

9 Lucy and George elope and spend their honeymoon in Florence.

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