The death of Queen Victoria in 1901 signified the end of the Victorian era, and the beginning of the Edwardian era. A Room with a view is a romantic comedy, and begins with a young lady (Lucy) and her chaperone (Miss Bartlett) visiting Florence. Although Charlotte Bartlett’s character as a chaperone might seem a little mundane to begin with, her development has a significant influence in the action and language of the novel. Forster juxtaposes characters, places and ideas.
Charlotte symbolises the repression of emotions and the strict and arbitrary rules on propriety of the Victorian era, which Forster communicates in a humorous way, giving her a unique character which has an impact on the plot. Throughout the novel Charlotte and Lucy’s alikeness fluctuates; Miss Bartlett seemingly is a warning as to what Lucy might become, and Charlotte’s relationship with Lucy facilitates her relationship with George and indeed her development as a woman during the Edwardian era.
Charlotte Bartlett is important because she develops simultaneously as does the plot, which could imply that she has an influence on the novel. In the first chapter, our first impressions of Charlotte Bartlett are that she is she is rather unimaginative, ‘Miss Bartlett, in her room, fastened the window-shutters and locked the door… She is portrayed to be passive aggressive, ‘you feel as if I have been narrow-minded and suspicious? ‘ which although seems as if she is trying not to offend, it is actually rather accusatory and irritating.
However her self-centeredness is contrasted during the middle course of the novel,: “”I didn’t mean the egg were well boiled,’ corrected Freddy, ‘because in point of fact she forgot to take it off and as a matter of fact I don’t care for eggs. I only meant how jolly kind she seemed. ” The news that Miss Bartlett is being thoughtful and considerate enables the reader to warm to her. Moreover, although she is usually excessively worried about propriety, she seems untroubled by Lucy witnessing a murder, her priorities seem rather strange.
It was a family saying that “you never knew which way Charlotte Bartlett would turn” She was perfectly pleasant and sensible over Lucy’s adventure…? This suggests that her usually ‘uptight’ character has developed, most likely because her spending time with Miss Lavish, (who is quite unconventional) has influenced her. Lastly, Charlotte seems to be firmly against Lucy’s socializing with the Emerson’s throughout the novel which emphasizes her beliefs in the traditional social norms of the Victorian period. After the kiss Charlotte is aghast, and she reflects the narrow-mindedness and snobbery of her era.
He is thoroughly unrefined. Let us put it down to his deplorable antecedents and education, if you wish. ‘ Charlotte treats this as a very serious matter, showing how significant a mere kiss can be in the social world of Edwardian England. However, at the end of the novel, it is revealed to us that Charlotte may have been a proponent of Lucy and George being together from the very beginning. Charlotte, whom is presented to be as a stern opponent of the love between George and Lucy, in the end turns out to be the catalyst of their reconciliation.
Charlotte Bartlett is important in the novel as she provides comedy and humor through her ridiculous martydom. ‘Now don’t be alarmed; this isn’t a cold. It’s the tiniest cough. ‘ Forster presents Miss Bartlett as a comic figure by making Miss Bartlett’s speech melodramatic, because no one was actually alarmed and all she has done is draw attention to herself. Moreover, Miss Bartlett usually projects her frustrations not only through passive-exaggeration, but through martyrdom ‘My own wishes are unimportant in comparison with yours. ‘ She exaggerates her altruism which has a comical effect.
She also does this when she wants something, and usually finds a way to get it by making the others around her feel guilty…. any nook does for me… but it does seem hard that you should not have a view. Although she pretends to want very little she often gets in the way. Miss Bartlett continues to behave in a very typical manner; ‘The ground will do for me. Really I have had not had rheumatism for years. This suggests that she is willing to make a sacrifice, but aims to make Lucy feel guilty by referring to having suffered from a disease of the joints.
Without Miss Bartlett the novel would be much more ordinary, not a ic comedy as such, however merely a romantic novel. It is clear she has an influence on the genre of the book. Miss Bartlett is not only important in the language and action of the novel, but she is structurally significant throughout. She appears in both the first and last pages of the novel, proving that she has an influence throughout. Miss Bartlett is the driving force of the novel, a catalyst to Lucy’s love life.
It is evident that Miss Bartlett’s combination of her snobbishness, extreme views of propriety and relationships make it possible for Lucy to develop as she does. ‘Lucy’s rebellious thoughts swept out in words – for the first time in her life. ‘ Lucy is beginning to rebel. Significantly it is a conversation with Miss Bartlett about the Emerson’s that prompts this. The word ‘swept implies the collections of her frustrations which are cast out at this point. If charlotte hadn’t been as restricting Lucy would not have felt as compelled to pursue George.
Moreover, she Serves as a warning as to what Lucy’s life might be if she ignores her true feelings. “Perhaps I spoke hastily. ” “Oh, goodness! ” her mother flashed. “How you do remind me of Charlotte Bartlett! ” Mrs Honeychurch sees signs and the danger of Lucy behaving like her cousin; Lucy is horrified by the idea. There is the same fussiness, the same worry in her words. … Charlotte, how could you have told her? ‘ However Miss Bartlett’s indiscretion makes it possible for George to have another chance with Lucy.
Charlotte’s fussiness and passive aggressiveness, as Forster depicts them, are the results of repre passion and li solitude. Forster illustrates Miss Bartlett’s importance in A Room with a View by giving her structural authority and authority over the protagonist’s life. Forster makes Miss Bartlett’s role effective by conveying Miss Bartlett to be snobbish, passive-aggressive and dull, however towards the end of the book, the character we dislike evolves to become a character which we sympathise with and makes the happy ending possible, making her importance in the novel implicitly evident.
This gives the reader the freedom to make their own conclusions and judgment about Miss Bartlett’s motives in the novel, and whether her restrictive attitude towards her cousin was to her benefit. Miss Bartlett role as an old spinster has a symbolic resonance, it serves a warning to Lucy, and it implies that Charlotte may have herself denied her feelings and love as Lucy almost does.
Miss Bartlett did not believe in the independence and equality of women, and it clear that Foster want to represent Lucy the forward-thinking feminism, communicated through her passion-driven actions and independence. However towards the end of the novel, perhaps Lucy influences Miss Bartlett who throughout the novel embodies the convention and adherence to stifling primness, that convention does not have the same potential for growth and new life. One must be brave enough to follow passion.