LUCY HONEYCHURCH’S BAG

THE BAG : “Toscano”

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Out of the muddle under the heat of the Tuscan sun

Characterized by the colors of the Tuscan landscape the Toscano handbag is handmade with rustic fabrics like corduroy, burlap and sackcloth that were once used on farms. Owing this bag will make you feel like Lucy Honeychurch, the heroine of E.M. Forster’s novel A Room with a View since the plastic and unique light of the Toscano handbag conveys the feeling of  being in the fields of Tuscany. Just like Lucy Honeychurch will appreciate the passionate heat and the vivid colors of the Italian countryside which will help her to overcome the limitations of her Victorian education, the rural tone of this bag won’t be a limit to her versatile format which makes it modern and contemporary at the same time.

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S.H.E

THE CHARACTER : LUCY HONEYCHURCH

LUCY E GEORGE

 

Standing at its brink, like a swimmer who prepares, was the good man. But he was not the good man that she had expected, and he was alone. George had turned at the sound of her arrival. For a moment he contemplated her, as one who had fallen out of heaven. He saw radiant joy in her face, he saw the flowers beat against her dress in blue waves. The bushes above them closed. He stepped quickly forward and kissed her.

On occasion of her “grand tour” of Italy, in the enchanted city of Florence, Lucy Honeymoon, a young , naïve British girl, grows toward self-awareness. At the beginning of the story she often says she finds herself in a “ muddle” to describe her state of mind. The muddle is linked with growing up, it is frightening and confusing but in passing through it Lucy becomes a stronger and wiser person. She is inexperienced of the world and has been brought up in the shadow of rigid moral prejudices, but her Florentine experience gives her way to rethink the almost completely predetermined course in her life. The surrounding environment plays a very important role, in fact, the physical environment, described through Lucy’s experiences creates an atmosphere that unites both the character and events. In A Room with a View the environment provides a background  which is always the same thus allowing us to understand her feelings. Early in her experience Lucy  compares Miss Bartlett’s embrace to “ the sensation of a fog” and her first reaction is opening her bedroom window to breathe the “ clean night air. Lucy is not a rebel at heart, but she is often frustrated by the limitations put on her sex. Charlotte, her older cousin in charge of her during their journey to Italy, is the prim spinster representing the major obstacle to her freedom and self fulfillment. “Miss Bartlett only sighed, and enveloped her in a protecting embrace as she wished her good night” but  Lucy has no desire to be protected by her or anybody else.

Being the daughter of a late prosperous solicitor, Lucy is a child of the nouveau riche : she belongs to the upper middle class and she has been raised with the British values of the Edwardian era. She has grown up to strong ideas about the need to hide her body and repress passion. This latter must be regulated by rules tied to class and gender.

According to these social standards, Lucy’s match with George Emerson, an unconventional philosophical socialist who is always questioning himself, is completely unacceptable. That is the reason why she feels in the muddle when one day, during a day trip to Fiesole, the young man abruptly kisses her in a violets field. Lucy only knows the pale and faded  opacity of the English climate which stand for British propriety so the unconventional experience confuses her even if her sensitivity is touched by idyllic  gaiety of the environment  ” From her feet the ground sharply into view, and violets ran down in rivulets and streams and cataracts , irrigating the hillside with blue, eddying round the tree stems, collecting into pools in the hollows, covering the grass with spots of azure foam. But never again were they in such profusion; this terrace was the well-head, the primal source whence beauty gushed out to water the earth.”

Just like the landscape of the hills around Florence, resplendent with vivid colors and the bright Mediterranean  lighting  that almost transforms the outlines of things, Lucy’s feelings,  bred in the lukewarm austerity of Victorian morals, are disturbed by George Emerson’s  unexpected and impetuous gesture.

The muddle arises when everything that Lucy has been taught suddenly is thrown into doubt. She is the opposite of her older cousin Charlotte who represents the old-fashioned Victorian values. She thinks that women are not inferior to men, but they should however hold a different, less active position in society. On the contrary Lucy doesn’t stand for the medieval woman, from time to time she feels restless and looks forward to living adventure and, given the times she lives in, her behavior does seem courageous. Her society has taught her that being a woman means accepting a status inferior to man. The snobbish Cecil Vyse, a man Lucy meets in Rome, proposes marriage to her and she accepts; however,  he represents the lukewarm and faded England in contrast to George Emerson’ s newer and more liberal mores.

Back  in Surrey  Lucy is in the garden of her home, a cottage immersed in the deep of the British countryside, but in her eyes the landscape stands out and becomes bright just because transfigured by the memory of Fiesole. Lucy searches in the woods and hills that surround her home the colors and landscapes of Florence, but behind the mental reconstruction of those faraway places it is reflected the desire of the young woman to retrace the emotions related to her stay in Tuscany. “Ah, how beautiful the forest seemed! The hills stood out in the bright sunset, as Fiesole stands on the Tuscan plain and the other southern hills. She could even forget her Italy, but she was learning to find the beauty of her native England. You could invent a game with the landscape, and try to find among its countless recesses some town or village that could be compared to Florence. Ah, how beautiful the forest seemed! “

But Cecile to whom she is now engaged calls her “He was obviously in a critical mood and did not want to take part in the euphoria of the players…” During the tennis match George plays with the Honeychurches on a Sunday Cecil is at his most intolerable.   His gray presence and behavior of cloying intellectual superiority seem to boycott Lucy’s flow of memories.

All of a sudden George kisses Lucy again. She tells him to leave, but he insists that Cecil is not the right man for her, since he is controlling and appreciative of things rather than people. Lucy understands that  Her marriage to Cecil could never be one between equals since he is not so much in love with her as he is in love with some idea of what a woman is supposed to be. He is constantly comparing her to a work of art, which, although it may be flattering, it also objectifies her and ignores that she is a living person. On the contrary the Emersons are fervent believers in the equality of men and women and what Lucy needs, although she does not know it, is a relationship between equals. When she realizes that she is in love with George, she sees Cecil in a new light, and she breaks off her engagement that night. Though she must fly against convention,  George is what her soul truly wants.so  she marries him, and  her anguish in choosing between George and Cecile becomes a contest of modernity against convention, honesty against hypocrisy, clarity against muddle

THE STORY : A ROOM WITH A VIEW

LUCY IN FLORENCE

Lucy does not stand for the medieval lady, who was rather an ideal to which she was bidden to lift her eyes when feeling serious. Nor has she any system of revolt. Here and there a restriction annoyed her particularly, and she would transgress it, and perhaps be sorry that she had done so. This afternoon she was particularly restive. She would really like to do something of which her well- wishers disapproved.. “ Nothing ever happens to me” she reflected , as she entered the Piazza Signoria and looked nonchalantly at its marvels. The great square was in shadow; the sunshine had come too late  to strike it. Neptune was already unsubstantial in the twilight, half god, half ghost, and its fountain plashed dreamily to the men and satyrs who idled together on its marge. The Loggia showed as the triple entrance of a cave, wherein many a deity, shadowy, but immortal, looking forth upon the arrivals and departures of mankind.

 

The province of Tuscany and the city of Florence have always been a mecca for English tourists and A Room with a View centres around a group who visited the city towards the end of the nineteenth century. Florence is still as popular today as it was then when Lucy Honeychurch goes on holiday to Italy with Miss Charlotte Bartlett, her older cousin. They are staying at the Pensione Bertolini in Florence and  they are bemoaning the poor rooms that they have been given. They were promised rooms with views. While Miss Bartlett and Lucy are talking, an old man interrupts them to tell them that his room has a nice view on the river Arno. The man is Mr. Emerson; he introduces his son, George Emerson. The two men offer to exchange rooms:  in order to give the ladies the chance to have a view on the Arno the men will take the rooms over the courtyard, and Lucy and Charlotte will take the more pleasant rooms that have views. At first Miss Bartlett is horrified by the offer, and refuses to accept but Lucy cries : “ Oh, Charlotte we must have the rooms now. The old man is just as nice and kind as he can be”. So, even if  reluctantly she finally accepts the favour but tells Lucy “ I want to explain why it is that I have taken the largest room. Naturally of course I should have given it to you; but I happen to know that it belongs to the young man, and I was sure your mother would not like it. If you are to accept a favour it is more suitable you should be under an obligation to his father than to him. I am a woman of the world, in my small way, and I know where things lead to” But when she goes into her room and she finds a sheet of paper on which was scrawled an enormous note of interrogation she considers it as menacing and obnoxious,  a symbol “ portentous with evil”. On the contrary, though cautious,  Lucy is loving by nature and enjoys life even when it challenges her understanding.  She adores the view of the Arno through the pension window, and she looks forward to living an adventure. She searches for an experience which adult people would disapprove of  but when she lives it she is confused about her reactions, feelings and the perception of a new world to be explored.

One day, after playing the piano at Pensione Bertolini, she feels bored by the conversation with the other guests and decides to go out alone hoping to live some adventure and “ then something did happen”. She witnesses a  street murder and, being sensitive, she is shocked by the sight of it. She faints but is rescued by George Emerson who “ happened to be a few paces away, looking at her across the spot where the man had been”. When  she opens her eyes she murmurs “ Oh, what have I done?…she had complained of dullness, and lo! One man was stabbed, and another held her in his arms.” Lucy feels ashamed and worried about the convenience of her situation according to Edwardian standards. She then pretends she is all right. She does not fully realizes what is happening to her. She addresses George in a very formal way even if at the end she realizes that this kind of language is useless with this kind of man. “ It struck her that it was hopeless to look for chivalry in such a man . he would do her no harm by idle gossip; he was trustworthy, intelligent, and even kind ; he might even have a high opinion of her. But he lacked chivalry; his thoughts, like his behavior, would not be modified by awe” . despite the differences in character and social class between the guests of the pension, they all go on sightseeing tours of the city and surrounding hills together. During one of these outings to Fiesole, Lucy wanders off into the countryside, where she meets and is passionately kissed by George Emerson. When she returns to England, to her home in Surrey, Lucy becomes engaged with the aristocratic and conventional Cecil Vyse. When she learns , however, that George and his father have rented a house in the neighbourhood, she remembers what happened in Italy, and realizes that she loves George and not her prospective husband. But it takes her some time to extricate herself from what she calls “ the muddle”. Not having her mother’s consent, Lucy eventually elopes with George, they get married and spend their honeymoon in Florence at the Pensione Bertolini.

By Valentina 101bags

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