A room with a view
Term 2 Lecture 3
• Selection test tomorrow 0 period – 7.35
– 8.35 am (1hour) Be early. We will start
on time. LT3
• Only for students who have submitted
their forms.
• Format – Essay question on unseen
poetry; comparison question
• Friday 29 April at PAC. Be EARLY! Come at
5.30pm to register attendance.
• Special JC2 event - combining LIT and HIST.
LIT – creative interpretation and
dramatization of texts through Drama and Art
• Special drama performance of ‘Top Girls’ by
our drama society
• Compulsory for all JC1 H2 students
• Dress code! Smart-casual
• Light ‘dinner’ will be provided.
• Evening ends about 10.15 pm
Forster: Aspects of the
• Stress on Pattern & Rhythm of a novel
• Novel as interconnected seamless
 Building layers of gradual discovery
and understanding by reader
Forster: Aspects of the
– relates to plot
– “once we have finished the novel, the plot departs
but the pattern remains in our memory”
– Pattern = symmetry in plot
– Eg characters changing places: Lucy + Cecil vs
Lucy + George as love interest
– Eg Novel as a whole:
• movement from Italy – to England – to Italy
– Pictorially – ‘geometric oval of a stylized eye’
– Central theme – captures the opening and
maturing of Lucy as she widens her visual and
mental horizons to learn the truth.
• In return to Italy, the same window is
• Foster makes use of a simple and
traditional framework of beginning and
ending a story in the same setting with
the same symbol and with the same
underlying thought.
• That the lovers will grow as a couple –
just as Lucy grew as an individual.
Forster: Aspects of the
– Eg binaries in characterisation
(representing opposing values / worlds:
freedom, truth, love, desire vs restraint,
repression, falseness; characters
associated with symbolically different views
– Cecil, Charlotte with viewless drawing
rooms; George with open nature/sky
– Eg series of chapters on lying (Lying to
George; Lying to Cecil; Lying to…)
Rhythm of the novel
• From music; relates to structure of novel
• “Repetition plus variation” of aspects /
events / symbols
– Eg Chapters / events repeat, yet with
– Eg. alternating indoor vs outdoor chapters
• F (Foster) plays with 3 types of rhythm: easy,
difficult and linking.
• Rhythm in the ‘easy’ sense => consists of
either fixed or expanding symbols.
• Created by the use of repeated sequences of
notes / symbols.
• This repetition does not mean mere
• All symbols are used to enhance the rhythmic
patterns – but they do so in different ways.
• F makes extensive use of the repeated
simple fixed symbol - the symbolic object that
do not grow or diminish in meaning.
• He also uses the expanding symbol.
• This is a more complex emblem that grows as
the reader learns more of it and applies to the
new knowledge the memory of what has
• The most pervasive simple fixed symbol is
the view and its variations eg the window and
• The repetition of this symbol constantly
woven into the story gives order to the novel
• From title, we know its impt.
• From the beginning it is good.
• This never changes and never grows. Only
Mr Emerson has a transcendent knowledge –
the one perfect view is ‘the view of the sky
straight over our heads’ – all other views are
but bungled versions of it.
• For other characters, seeing the view is a metaphor
for seeing life.
• However, appearances and reality are not the same.
From opening, the pension tries to look like an
English boarding house but it is not, the floors of red
tiles in Lucy’s room look clean but they are not (chpt
1 & 2).
• Lucy’s challenge (and that of the others) is to
perceive what is real and what is pretended.
• Eg her final break with Cecil, she says ‘I must see
clearly. I must speak’ – she rejects the unreality that
he represents for her.
• We are always reminded of the impt of ‘seeing things
• At the very beginning all characters are defined by
their desire to see or not to see. Eg closing windows
– Miss Alans – tell L & CB of the necessity of closing
windows in Italy (chpt 1)
• Marks the diff btw Lucy and Charlotte.
• At end of novel, George strolls over to open the
window. When lying to Cecil, Lusy tells him ‘don’t
open the window’ and ‘you’d better draw the curtains
• The variations of this simple fixed symbol are due to
the forms it takes such as views, windows, and
seeing. And the 2 levels it is found on – the interior or
psychological and the exterior.
• In chpt 5, we see how Lucy’s perception
of people begin to change – as a result
of the effect of Chpt 4
• P49 ‘she doubted that Miss Lavish was
a great artist… they were tried by some
new test and they were found wanting’
• Another example of an unvarying symbol is the
Baedeker => A symbol related to viewing, [ NB:Used
also in the other Italian novel – where angels fear to
tread. – a linking symbol.]
• It symbolizes the conventional => those who read of
life rather than live it. Those who peruse words and
sentences rather than people and actions.
• Users of the Baedeker remove themselves from
participation in a view. To show how undeveloped
and unsophisticated Lucy is, she is seen memorizing
the Baedeker in chpt 1.
• At the end when she decides to go to Greece => her
reversion back to conventionality is shown in her
purchasing a Beadeker with her mother for Greece.
• Like the symbol of a view, the
Baedeker’s meaning does not grow not
diminish with repeated use.
• Through its recurrent appearances, it
provides an internal harmony of rhythm
in the easy manner that a repeated
musical phrase does.
• Other leit-motifs which are just as rhythmically
effective and fixed:
• Charlotte’s consistent tone of false
selflessness and the insistent use of the
adjective ‘clever’ in conjunction with Miss
• Eg when CB 1st complains she says ‘any
nook will do….but it is hard that you shouldn’t
have a view.’
• In chpt 6. ‘it is you they really want. I am
added for appearances.’
• Then about the mackintosh – ‘…without a
moment’s doubt, Lucy, the ground will do for
me. Really, I have not had rheumatism for
years’ => we can hear the whine of the false
martyr each time she speaks.
• For Miss Lavish (Miss L), it is not what she speaks
but what is said of her that gives us a constant and
consistent note played at her entrance to a scene.
• Narrator consistently introduces her as ‘the clever
lady then said…’ ‘the clever lady broke in…’ ‘Miss
Lavish was so original’.
• Foster admits his leit-motifs are too obvious but
becos they are presented with humour and they are
incorporated in diff ways, eg in the tone of narrator
and the words of other characters, they make
interesting variations. They do not disrupt the rhythm
but add to it.
• Creating a simple rhythm we can tap into.
• A more subtle rhythmic repetition is found in
the recurrence of the same phrases,
sometimes with variations and repeated by
diff characters.
• This serves to add to the inner harmony and
order of the novel but also each recurrence
thickens the meaning of the phrase and
shows without comment by the narrator how
one character is like the other.
• Similarities are implied and subtle.
• Eg. In the beginning Miss Alan is introduced as ‘a
delicate pathos perfumed her disconnected remarks
giving them an unexpected beauty, just as decaying
autumn woods there sometimes rise odours
reminiscent of spring’. P33 chpt 3
• A similar version of these words are used when
describing Lucy after she rejects G => ‘ she was
aware of autumn, summer was ending and the
evening brought her odours of decay, the more
pathetic because they were reminiscent of spring.’
• As readers, we are expected to remember the earlier
echo of words => Lucy is in danger of being received
into the night as Charlotte and the Miss Alans have
• The aesthetic effect of these
repetitions is based on the reader’s use
of memory to discern that ‘which might
have been shown by the novelist
straight away only if he had shown it
straight away, it would never have
become beautiful’.
• Same device is used in the depiction of Lucy and
Cecil’s relationship.
• ‘nature- the simplest of topics he thought- lay before
them.’ P93 => shows the ignorance of his dry and
arid passionless personality.
• ‘nature – simplest of topics, she thought – was
around them. => this is at odds with her passionate
• Lucy too makes the mistake of thinking of nature as a
safe and uncomplicated subject.
• This is Lucy trying to look at the world through Cecil’s
eyes and speaks of it even to herself using his words.
Complex expanding
• England and Italy seem at 1st like the fixed symbols.
• Their connotations expand during the course of the
novel but there is a basic consistency to them.
• England is repression and convention. Italy is
eternally in league with youth. Surrey is familiar and
known, Italian country is full of dangerous ‘pernicious
charm’. Chpt 2
• BUT There is also the danger and possibility of
human connection in both places.
• In chpt 4 in Italy passion can led to violence and
death, in Surrey, convention can be flouted in the
bathing scene – the joys of unrestrained youth and
even the appreciation of maleness can connect.
• Violets: 1st used in chpt 3 – ‘business of the violets’.
Connect them with the Emersons.
• Takes on other layers of meaning – chpt 6 violets is
associated with George and passion:
• Also described as ‘the primal source’ of beauty.
• Now associated with life and passion.
• Phaeton who saw George kiss Lucy had a violet
between his teeth.
• It is a positive symbol
• When used by Ms Lavish in her crude novel, the
symbol is charge with negative quality for Lucy.
• However, in reminding us of the symbol of the violets,
We are also reminded of the positive melody of this
repeated use of a symbol.
• E. M. Forster in his Aspects of the Novel
stated that "parody and adaptation have
enormous advantages"
• ‘an already existing book or literary tradition
may inspire them - they may find high up in its
cornices a pattern that will serve as a
beginning, they may swing about in its rafters
and gain strength."
• One such "pattern" is provided by classical
• the classical mythological characters of
Phaethon and Persephone =>the names of
an Italian carriage driver and his lover.
• Their myths are also relevant to the plot of the
novel to emphasize Lucy Honeychurch's and
George Emerson's passionate awakenings.
• By reading the novel for this mythic structure,
the reader can better appreciate the
personae of Lucy and George and their
actions as they relate to their classical
• Lucy Honeychurch, who breaks from the
darkness of Victorian conventionality to
experience the brightness of passion is like
Persephone, who spends half of the year in
the darkness of the underworld and half in the
light of the surface.
• George Emerson, who forever contemplates
the "everlasting Why" until the experience of
passion leads him to an encounter with the
physical is like Phaethon, whose brashness
causes him literally to fall from heaven to
• It is towards life that Lucy is being called, for
she is shackled by Victorian conventionality,
which deadens life by subverting passion
beneath rationality.
• She must break free of this conventionality if
she is to live.
• Like Persephone, she is trapped beneath the
earth, beneath convention, and the driver and
his lover turn to her to appeal to her trapped
passions, to force her to release those
passions and return to the earth's surface.
• Forster presents Lucy’s society as "depersonalized
by materialism, philistinism, some of the more
inhibiting forms of Puritanism and, most of all
perhaps, by a blinding complacency engendered by a
confident sense of its own entrenchment.“
• It is a society which lacks "any firm sanctions for the
imaginative life," thereby allowing a "rational,
sceptical spirit" to gain a firm grip on the society.
• Lucy is trapped in this grasp, is trapped in its
conventions and rational spirit.