A Room with a View written by E. M. Forster is a story about love, conflict, and finding your way. The story is set in both Florence Italy and England during the Edwardian era where societal standards were different and the upper class were unforgiving on lower class peasantry. Lucy Honeychurch is an exception, as a naive, sheltered young women brought to Italy by her older cousin, Charlotte Bartlett. She begins to learn the struggles of love through unexpected encounters and memorable people.
Lucy’s journey beings in Italy as she begins to fall for lower class man, George Emery. Her feelings for George are often masked by the expectations put upon her by her family to find a suitable man like upperclassman and fiance, Cecil. This pulling of Lucy’s personality in different directions is captured by the author’s use of the references to renowned artists such as Mozart and Beethoven. The main function of the intertextual use of Mozart sonatas, Beethoven’s Opus II, and Schumann are their ability to express the complicated personality of Lucy Honeychurch.
The first way it does this is by allowing her to exude her sexuality and her love for George by playing loud, empowering music by Beethoven. Lucy Honeychurch has always been told what do to and how to think by her superiors, this includes her feelings towards the human body and the shame that comes along with the idea of personal embrace and nakedness. Lucy is unable to express herself because she doesn’t know how, until she meets George and his father, Mr. Emerson. After their meeting, Lucy begins the journey of body acceptance.
Forster shows the audience of Lucy revelation by having her play Beethoven, this allows Lucy to play boisterous and full of emotion as her way to signify that she will not conform to the normal standards of body shaming as women during that time were looked at like delicate objects that must not express themselves or think in a rebellious matter. Beethoven’s Opus II shows to the audience that Lucy is becoming to treat herself as an equal to the men by playing music like the men, strong and confident.
This intertext pushes along character development for Lucy’s personality by letting her give in to the feelings she has for George even though she understands it is not suitable for a young woman to act in such body expressive ways. By using Beethoven as the famous reference, it allows the author to demonstrate to complexity of Lucy’s personality without having to explain her thunderous inner thoughts over many paragraphs because by dropping the name Beethoven it already infers to the audience her relationship with that piece of music is one that is relatable in the sense that she feels what the music is saying.
The second way using famous musical references help express Lucy’s complex personality is by using the also famous names Mozart and Schumann as a way for Lucy to demonstrate the inner turmoil that she feels when she decides to be a virgin for the rest of her life. By playing these slow delicate pieces it lets the author expose her vulnerable side as she begins to conform to the non-expressive “lady like” way of living.
Lucy uses these fragile pieces to signify her destined future as a non-sexually expressive young woman that is expected of her by society and by her fiance Cecil whom is intrigued by Lucy’s lack of femininity in her own body and her secretive ways. Her relationship is quiet and lacks passion, just like Lucy’s personality at that point in the story is quiet and lacks passion in expressing herself to the world, so when Lucy plays these soft muted pieces is exposes herself as someone who is giving in to what is expected of her.
This lets the author open the window for the audience to catch a glimpse of her personality when she has given up and let them feel the emotions she feels as it is happening in her life. The author uses these musical modes as a way for the audience to relate to the character of Lucy and become sympathetic to what she is feeling because the famous musical references, known by many, as a way of delicate expression from how the pieces by Schumann and Mozart sonatas that change the way the audiences listens to he music.
This works especially well in the authors favor as he already knowns how to compare Lucy’s personality to the music and make it relatable to the readers. The simplicity of the music which Lucy plays gives the reader a sense of Lucy’s personality being pulled in the direction of submission by her family as she plays the lady like version of herself through the music instead of playing her expressive self through Beethoven.
The third way musical references such as Beethoven, Mozart, and Schumann add expression to Lucy’s complex personality is by having these different styles of music fight and over take each other as the authors way of showing the ever-constant battle Lucy has about conformity or allowing herself to become one with her body and express who she is.
During the time where she is feeling one with her body and feels she is able to let herself develop the author has her play Beethoven but during the times where she is again conflicted with her own personality to expel the though of sexuality the author uses the soft pieces that a lady should play like Mozart sonatas and Schumann to have the audience compare on contrast on an emotional level the different styles of music that correspond with the feeling that Lucy is having at that point in time.
The contrasting styles in music allow the reader to follow the growth and change in Lucy’s personality as external presences help coerce Lucy to feel either body embracing or give her the feeling of wanting to be clothed. The audience easily follows these coercions due to the authors use of famous musical references as a way of recognizable emotions people automatically feel in their subconscious.
The dramatically different styles of musical pieces unlock extremely different emotions in the reader that allow for them to relate to the Lucy’s different personalities and how the ability of the music effects the change the author wants to see the audience due as progression throughout the story line as development is added to the complexity of her personality. The different elements in each piece of music by Beethoven, Mozart, and Schumann give the audience the ability to experience the pulling of emotion and personality as it happens throughout the story.
The authors use of these musical intertexts show many different things by merely dropping these famous names along with their pieces which makes their effectiveness and function much more significant as the story progressives and Lucy’s personality can shine through. Forster’s A Room with a View uses famous musicians as the intertext to display Lucy’s complex personality and gives deep insight to her thoughts and feelings.
The use of these well-known artists enables the audience to follow closely to the feelings and personality of Lucy Honeychurch without the authors need to give in detail her thoughts and emotions over the span of the book. After using the famous musical references and their well-known pieces it allows the reader to distinguish the needed emotion that the author is trying to capture by essentially feeling it with Lucy as she plays these pieces per her ever-changing emotion and personality.
The main function of the intertextual reference was to display the complexity of Lucy Honeychurch’s personality and the author could do so by using these musical references to toys with the audience’s feelings to get them to relate to the personality of Lucy and her struggles of becoming her own person, becoming equal with the men, and discovering the importance of loving the body you were created with.