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Character Role Analysis

Charlotte Bartlett

Charlotte is like a nightmare image of what we’re afraid Lucy will become in thirty years' time. OK, maybe that’s a little dramatic – but it’s not too far from the mark. She’s more than a little pathetic, and is truly obnoxious at times to boot. There’s something grotesquely voyeuristic about the way in which she tends to live through Lucy; we have to wonder what opportunities for a happier life she might have lost in some long-distant “muddle.” As Lucy drifts further and further from a happy resolution, Forster ominously hints at her similarities to Charlotte. Throughout the book, the older woman stands as a contrast to Lucy’s youthful qualities, and as a threat of what Lucy may become in the future if she’s not careful. At the very end of the book, however, George suggests that Charlotte might not be totally embittered, and that perhaps, just perhaps, she finally gave the young lovers the chance they needed to reunite.