Style

Style here refers to the author’s approach to writing, including tone and the use of literary devices. As Malcolm Bradbury notes in his introduction to A Room With a View, Forster’s style is famously light. His humor is satirical, yet sympathetic; his prose—at times tending toward the verbose—is conversational:

Cecil, who naturally preferred congratulations to apologies, drew down his mouth at the corners. Was this the reception his action would get from the world? Of course, he despised the world as a whole; every thoughtful man should; it is almost a test of refinement. But he was sensitive to the successive particles of it which he encountered. [87]

As the omniscient narrator of Room, Forster employs authorial intrusion and characterization. Symbolism and imagery are his preferred literary devices. Chapter six—“The Reverend Arthur Beebe, the Reverend Cuthbert Eager, Mr. Emerson, Mr. George Emerson, Miss Eleanor Lavish, Miss Charlotte Bartlett and Miss Lucy Honeychurch Drive out in Carriages to See a View; Italians Drive them”—aside from having the longest title of any chapter, is notable for its singular amplification of these devices. Adding myth to the mix in this chapter, Forster opens:

It was Phaethon who drove them to Fiesole that memorable day, a youth all irresponsibility and fire, recklessly urging his master’s horses up the stony hill. Mr. Beebe recognized him at once. Neither the Ages of Faith nor the Age of Doubt had touched him; he was Phaethon in Tuscany driving a cab. [54]

Or consider the description of the field to which Lucy is led by this Phaethon:

From her feet the ground sloped sharply into the 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. [63]

Return to Process.

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