11 November 2010

Questions for A Room with a View

As you read E. M. Forster's A Room with a View, it would be helpful to think about the following questions. We will deal with these questions, and related themes, in our class discussion of the book.
  • What do we see in the novel about why people travel? About what the benefit of travel is? What the challenges of travel are?
  • What is the role of the chaperone when it comes to travel? Why must Lucy have a chaperone? What is the task of the chaperone? Is Charlotte a good chaperone?
  • How does travel affect the characters in the novel? Clearly Lucy is the chief character affected by travel, but think of how the other characters--both those who travel and those who don't travel--are affected by the traveling.
  • In what ways do the travelers bring their experiences back home with them?
  • What does Italy represent in this novel? Why is the travel that happens in the novel travel to Italy? Does it represent different things in different parts of the novel?

There are some passages that warrant further thought. Here are some to think about (in no particular order):

  • The last two paragraphs of Chapter 17
  • "'Life,' wrote a friend of mine, 'is a public performance on the violin, in which you must learn the instrument as you go along.'" (Mr. Emerson talking to Lucy in Chapter 19)
  • The second and third paragraphs of Chapter 10
  • The paragraph a couple pages into Chapter 6 that begins, "Oh indeed," said Mr. Eager.... and the next paragraph or two after that. What is being said here about tourists?
  • "The true Italy is only to be found by patient observation" (Miss Lavish to Lucy, Chapter 2), and then a little later on: "One doesn't come to Italy for niceness...one comes for life."

Think about these passages, and whether they prompt some response or thoughts. Come up with your own favorite passages as well.

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