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An Analysis of Motifs in A Room With a View

“For a moment [George] contemplated her, as one who had fallen out of heaven. He noticed radiant joy in her face, he saw the flowers beat towards her gown in blue waves. The bushes above them closed. He stepped shortly ahead and kissed her” (Forster 55). This scene from E. M. Forster’s Room with a View triggers a profound inner struggle inside Lucy Honeychurch, the novel’s protagonist, initiating her quest for true ardour and independence. Indeed, this scene exemplifies how Forster makes use of motifs–including gentle vs.

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darkish and out of doors areas vs. inside spaces–to develop the novel’s themes. Throughout A Room with a View, the creator employs the motifs of out of doors vs. indoor places, light vs. dark and Renaissance vs. Medieval to illustrate the themes of freedom from social conventions, the worth of honesty, and the distinction between Victorian and Edwardian social concepts.

Forster makes use of the motif of indoor vs. outdoor locations, or rooms vs. views, to exemplify the shift from conventional Victorian beliefs to Edwardian values and to demonstrate the fantastic factor about finding freedom from social restrictions.

From the beginning of the novel, the narrator associates progressive-minded characters with “views.” For instance, the primary phrases uttered by Mr. Emerson within the novel are, “I have a view, I have a view,” meaning that Emerson’s room at the Pension Bertolini has a picturesque view (Forster 4). When Lucy Honeychurch enters her room, she opens the window and breathes the “clean evening air,” but when Miss Bartlett enters a room, she immediately fastens the shutters and locks the door (Forster 11).

By associating fashionable, progressive characters with views and more conventional characters with rooms early within the novel, Forster indicates that indoor areas symbolize restrictive social conventions, whereas broad, outside spaces and views reflect open-mindedness and progressive concepts.

This motif takes on additional significance in mild of England’s passage within the early 20th century from traditional Victorian society into the extra fashionable, Edwardian culture. Hence, throughout the novel, the contrast between out of doors and indoor areas parallels the contrast between socially conservative, older characters corresponding to Miss Bartlett and Mrs. Honeychurch and forward-minded, Edwardian-era characters corresponding to George and Mr. Emerson. The motif of rooms vs. views also accentuates the worth of freedom from social conventions. Cecil, the embodiment of upper-class snobbery and petty societal values, is compared to a “drawing-room” with no view (Forster 86). In contrast, throughout one of the refreshing scenes within the novel, George, Freddy and Mr. Beebe romp within the outdoor close to the Sacred Lake, a spot symbolic of freedom from social conventions (Forster 106). When the three strip off their clothes, they forged off the burden of social conventions, and their joy in romping across the lake exemplifies the bliss found in liberation from the norm. Hence, the motif of out of doors vs. indoors permits Forster to contrast Victorian ideas with Edwardian ones, and to emphasise how freedom from social conventions can deliver true pleasure.

Besides utilizing this motif, Forster additionally uses the motif of light vs. dark to speak his theme of honesty vs. deception. One of the clearest examples of this motif happens when George first kisses Lucy amid a sea of violets: “light and beauty” enveloped Lucy and “radiant joy” was in her face (Forster 55). Similarly, after George confronts Lucy about Cecil’s hard-heartedness, “the scales” fall from Lucy’s eyes and she or he beholds the reality about Cecil (Forster 138). Though this does not point out light instantly, the image of scales brings to mind the biblical story of the Apostle Paul’s encounter with a blinding gentle on the street to Damascus. Thus, each of these examples illustrate how Forster associates gentle with beauty and honesty. Conversely, darkness comes when Lucy tries to deceive others and to deny her passionate love for George.

After Lucy pretends that she does not love George, she enters the “vast armies of the benighted”; the evening envelops her in its grim embrace (Forster 143). This picture of night symbolizes Lucy’s personal mental darkness and confusion. Night additionally has connotations of evil; the reader anticipates that some devilish misfortune will fall upon Lucy if she continues her net of lies. Through this motif of light vs. darkish, Forster attracts upon biblical undertones and literature’s custom of associating these images with good and evil. Hence, the writer communicates that deceiving oneself, as illustrated by Lucy’s refusal to acknowledge her love of George, can solely result in painful consequences and to that dreaded “muddle” described as worse than “Death and Fate” (Forster 165). Forster thus emphasizes the value of forsaking the darkness of deception and pursuing the purity and fantastic thing about honesty. Clearly, through this motif of light vs. dark, Forster expands his theme of the value of honesty.

Forster makes use of a 3rd motif, Renaissance vs. Medieval, to contrast Victorian and Edwardian views on gender roles and the character of love. Throughout the novel, “Medieval” symbolizes Victorian ideas, while “Renaissance” reflects Edwardian ideas. For instance, Cecil Vyse, “Gothic” in look and ascetic in his tastes, is the archetype of the Medieval man (Forster 71). Indeed, his views on gender roles mirror the beliefs of the Victorian age: males ought to all the time protect and guide women. In reality, Lucy is merely an object, “a work of art,” to Cecil (Forster 78). In regards to like, Cecil believes that it should at all times be delicate, rational, bound to conference.

Conversely, the Emersons exude a Renaissance spirit–it is no coincidence that the reader is first launched to them in Florence, the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. Unlike Cecil’s paternalistic attitude, George Emerson says he desires Lucy to have her own ideas and have equal status (Forster 136). In addition, George’s father voices a more trendy view on love: “Passion is sanity,” he says to Lucy (Forster 162). The contrasts between the Medieval and the Renaissance, between paternalism and equality, and between purpose and keenness underscore the shift from Victorian social decorum to the extra fashionable, Edwardian values. Ultimately, Lucy embraces this Edwardian spirit and finds higher satisfaction within the Renaissance man than in the Medieval. Thus, Forster makes use of the motif of the Renaissance vs. Medieval to intensify the distinction between Victorian and Edwardian concepts.

In short, each of those motifs permits Forster to develop his themes, whether or not it’s the value of freedom from social norms or the want to embrace the reality about oneself. Truly, Forster’s use of images, element and symbolism in these motifs makes the novel’s themes way more enduring than if he had simply relied on other, much less vivid means. Renaissance and Medieval, light and darkish, a room and a view–these are the images that may abide within the reader’s mind lengthy after the narrative has ceased.

Works Cited

  1. Forster, E. M. A Room with a View. Dover Publications, 1995.

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