Would A Room with a View be suitable for a feminist reading? I have to write my coursework on a feminist text and I'm really struggling to find one I know.

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that Forster's work can be read as a text that contains a progressive view of women.  Lucy seeks to break free from social conditions that dictate who she is and what she should do.  Lucy can be seen as a type of feminist character in that  she was “a rebel who desired, not a wider dwelling-room, but equality beside the man she loved."  Lucy embodies the promise and possibilities of women having their own "view."  The repressive tendencies that socially control men and women are the forms of darkness that Lucy seeks to wither away through her own illumination.

The challenge here is that I am not sure Forster's text is meant to be a purely feminist text.  He seems to be making statements against conformity and social conditioning that apply to men and women.  There are feminist tendencies in the text, but I don't think that Forster is meaning to write a text with feminism in mind.  The text is a bit more subtle than the strong and forceful political reach of feminism.  Not knowing your reading background, the idea of a "room with a feminist view" might be something best seen in Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own.  Whereas Forster is delicately trying to navigate the waters of Modernism, Virginia Woolf essentially puts the vessel in the middle of Modernism's choppy waters and "damns the torpedoes ahead" in her claims supporting feminism.  

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A Room with a View

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