Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Room with a View: 100% Complete

I did it! I finished A Room with a View.  For whatever reason, I really enjoyed the second half, after finding the first half really dull.  I'm glad I suffered through it, though, because the characters, the settings, everything seemed to come alive in the second half.  It suddenly seemed like things were happening when before, it seemed like nothing was.  I would be curious to know if anyone else has had this same experience with this book or if it's just me. 
Now that I'm finished, I wanted to go back and start over, because I started to notice that Forster peppered the story with a few choice words that seem to hold a lot of symbolism, most notably the words "room" and "view."  I think he meant "room" to represent convention and proper place in society: the place of Lucy's fiance Cecil.  She says at one point that she always pictures him in a room.  The view, which first comes into play when George Emerson and his father give up their rooms (which have views) for Lucy and her cousin at the Italian hotel where they are all staying, is representative of passion, of breaking out of the rules of society.  I didn't notice these reoccurring themes until I was three quarters of the way done with the book, but once I did, I wanted to go back and start over.
I don't have a vocabulary word today, but I do have a couple of quotes which were funny and made me laugh and one which I found very insightful.
First, the problem of Cecil, who is conventional, but annoying:
"He had been rather a nuisance all through the tennis, for the novel that he was reading was so bad that he was obliged to read it aloud to others.  He would stroll round the precincts of the court and call out: 'I say, listen to this, Lucy.  Three split infinitives.'"
And the traveling Miss Alans:
"They always perched there [in Bloomsbury, England] before crossing the great seas, and for a week or two they would fidget gently over clothes, guide-books, mackintosh squares, digestive bread and other Continental necessities.  That there are shops abroad, even in Athens, never occurred to them, for they regarded travel as a species of welfare, only to be undertaken by those who have been fully armed at the Haymarket Stores."
And finally, a quote in which I found a great deal of truth:
"It is obvious enough for the reader to conclude, 'She loves young Emerson.'  A reader in Lucy's place would not find it obvious.  Life is easy to chronicle, but bewildering to practice, and we welcome 'nerves' or any other shibboleth that will cloak our personal desire."
I especially like the line: "Life is easy to chronicle, but bewildering to practice."  How true.
So up next? On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin.

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