Discussion Questons: A Room with a View
What ho, Challengers! Welcome to the first week of the Spring 2011 LT Classics Challenge. For these two weeks, we’ll we looking at E.M. Forster’s A Room with a View, considered one of his two “Italian” novels. Discussion will be open for business next Friday (February 18) and remember that all participants will be entered to win a Penguin Clothbound Clasics. Until then, here are some starter questions to get us thinking (warning: spoilers):
1. How much “real” Italy to the British travelers really want or expect? How much of Britain intrudes upon their Italy experience? Upon arriving in Italy, Lucy and Charlotte are hugely annoyed that their pension is just like being in London. But later, when they go out for a drive and their Italian driver gets a bit handsy with his lady-friend, the Brits oust the girl for being improper and go off to have, basically, an English country picnic. Do they seem to desire authenticity or just the facade of it?
2. What is the role of class throughout the book? Mrs. Honeychurch notes that, for all modern “progressive” sentiment, there “is a right sort and a wrong sort, and it’s affectation to pretend there isn’t” (106), but does class really make a difference in the book? Or just within the perceptions of the characters?
3. What can we make of Lucy and her gentlemen callers? She claims to break things off with Cecil because he won’t let her be her own woman, but her break-up speech is practically verbatim from George Emerson. Is she really capable and/or desirous of independence or does she just like it in theory?
And every week I shall ask what your favorite and least favorite parts of the book were because I love to commiserate on these things!
Bonus Feature: The 1985 Merchant-Ivory production of A Room with a View with Helena Bonham-Carter in her first film role is available on YouTube for your viewing pleasure. And, unsurprisingly, it’s quite loyal to the book!
See you next week to discuss!
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