A Room With a View

Conflicting Impulses: Desire and Convention in E. M. Forster’s A Room with a View and Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day. 12th Grade

The conflict between a conventional lifestyle and the desire to follow individual passion is a struggle that pervades both E. M. Forster’s A Room with a View and Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day. Despite differing in subject matter and style, both novels depict social convention as repressive and question whether this makes for a happy and fulfilling existence. In A Room with a View, Forster strongly contrasts imagery as a means of visually representing of this divide. Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day maintains a similar theme. However, presenting a contrast to Forster’s omniscient narration, Ishiguro structures his novel in the first person, forming an elegant yet restrained memoir of his protagonist’s career as Butler at Darlington Hall. By subtly bedding Stevens’ unspoken desires and regrets into his predominantly formal language, Ishiguro creates a metaphor for the dangers of overly conforming to social convention as by suppressing his emotions, Stevens begins to lose sight of his true self.

In A Room with a View, Forster’s use of character highlights the divide between social convention and human desire. His depiction of Lucy Honeychurch’s cousin and chaperone Miss Bartlett, embodies the epitome of Edwardian...

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