Study Guide

A Room with a View Youth

By E.M. Forster

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The transitions from childhood to youth, then from youth to adulthood are important in A Room with a View. Childhood is defined as a period of safety and obedience, and of something perhaps approximating the bliss of ignorance. Youth, on the other hand, is seen as a time of transition and questioning, in which characters must discover for themselves what it means to be an individual out there in the world. The novel’s protagonist doesn’t go away to college to do her questioning the way most of us do – instead, she starts to wonder about things when she’s away from home (England) in Italy. This trip kick-starts the period of development and coming of age that’s at the center of the book.

Questions About Youth

  1. Forster holds youth in a very high regard, and there’s often an incredible sense of tension between the older and younger characters. In the world of the novel, is it all downhill after one transitions from youth to adulthood, or is it possible to retain a sense of what it means to be young?
  2. Youth is often regarded as a justification for actions that otherwise seem odd or perhaps inappropriate – is it a valid one?
  3. Cecil is technically a young man, but he separates himself consciously from the other young people in the novel. In your opinion, was he ever truly young, or are some people just born into middle age?

Chew on This

The concept of Youth in this novel is endowed with a magical quality that makes anything possible.

The transition between youth and adulthood in the world Forster shows us entails the acceptance of social rules and restrictions.

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