A Room with a View
by E.M. Forster
Analysis: Narrator Point of View
Who is the narrator, can she or he read minds, and, more importantly, can we trust her or him?
Third Person Omniscient
The narrator of A Room with a View is most certainly omniscient, and manages to simultaneously be intimate with many of the characters, but still remain objective and outside of the action. Though Forster allows us to visit the inner lives of the main characters (we see into the thoughts of Lucy, Mr. Beebe, Cecil, and George with some frequency), he also maintains a perspective that keeps us well aware of the ridiculous nature of some of the events and people in the novel. In so doing, we are both emotionally invested in the outcome of Lucy’s story, and intellectually able to take a good look at the ludicrousness of the society described in the book. The narrator also makes a great deal of commentary on the goings on of the characters – a great example is when the narrative voice takes a pause from the story to “speak” directly to us, the readers, acknowledging that, “It is obvious enough for the reader to conclude, ‘She loves young Emerson.’ A reader in Lucy's place would not find it obvious. Life is easy to chronicle, but bewildering to practice[…]” (14.3). This gives us a heightened awareness of the writer-reader rapport Forster sets up; from our external viewpoint, we can see that Lucy loves George, and the narrator can see it too, but this fact is hidden from the characters themselves.