A Room With a View

They Ran, They Bathed, They Played: A Watery Freedom in A Room with a View's "Twelfth Chapter" College

E. M. Forster’s A Room with a View contains two curiously named chapters: “Fourth Chapter” and “Twelfth Chapter.” Every other chapter in this early 20th century novel has a descriptive, often humorous title. For example, the chapter that follows “Twelfth Chapter” is entitled “How Miss Bartlett’s Boiler Was So Tiresome.” From this obvious distinction, one can surmise that something important will take place in each of these strangely named sections of the book. In “Fourth Chapter,” Lucy has a highly pivotal encounter with George that makes her question her own emotions and upbringing. However, this paper will focus on a passage from “Twelfth Chapter,” which describes Freddy, George, and Mr. Beebe’s nude romp in the pond behind the Honeychurch’s home. The following passage from this chapter reveals the strict constraints that govern English society and the sense of freedom and interpersonal connection that accompanies an escape from these conventions--a theme that pervades not only this chapter, but the novel as a whole.

“They ran to get dry, they bathed to get cool, they played at being Indians in the willow-herbs and in the bracken, they bathed to get clean. And all the time three little bundles lay discreetly on the sward,...

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