A Room with a View
How we cite our quotes:
"I didn't know what to do with them," he cried, and his voice was that of an anxious boy. Her heart warmed towards him for the first time. "They were covered with blood. There! I'm glad I've told you; and all the time we were making conversation I was wondering what to do with them." He pointed down-stream. "They've gone." The river swirled under the bridge. "I did mind them so, and one is so foolish, it seemed better that they should go out to the sea—I don't know; I may just mean that they frightened me. Then the boy verged into a man. "For something tremendous has happened; I must face it without getting muddled. It isn't exactly that a man has died" (4.23).
George has just thrown Lucy’s soiled photographs into the river in an act of desperation and we see in his confusion the struggle between boyhood and manhood. He’s uncertain of how to deal with what has just happened, and clearly he feels, as Lucy does, as though something in his life has changed forever.
It was not exactly that a man had died; something had happened to the living: they had come to a situation where character tells, and where Childhood enters upon the branching paths of Youth (4.28).
Here we see the first transition that Lucy undergoes, from Childhood, which is unquestioning and unknowing, to Youth. The latter is a period of fluctuation, of trial and error, and of self-discovery. The murder serves as a kick-start to this stage of Lucy’s life; it makes her evaluate herself and her position for the first time ever.
Surely the vendor of photographs was in league with Lucy—in the eternal league of Italy with youth. He had suddenly extended his book before Miss Bartlett and Mr. Eager, binding their hands together by a long glossy ribbon of churches, pictures, and views (5.24).
Throughout the novel, we have the profound sense misunderstanding youth is a fundamentally English problem. Italy represents a space of youthful possibility and romance, and the photo vendor acts on behalf of it by literally holding the old English people, Charlotte and Reverend Eager, back.