A Room with a View

by KE Monahan Huntley

Pensione Bertolini

The window to Miss Lucy Honeychurch's (main character) room does not open to a view. The dank back alley that confronts the young English lady and her chaperone, Charlotte Bartlett (the inevitable poor relation), is distressing, yet Lucy and her aunt do not choose to handle this dilemma directly (mc approach-be-er). Whispering about their disappointment in the communal dining room draws attention to their plight. Mr. Emerson decides (story driver) they must immediately change rooms with his son, George (influence character), and himself: "I have a view. And so does George. . . . I don't care what I see outside. My vision is within." Horrified at the stranger's forward approach (os inhibitor), the ladies leave the table. A consultation with Mr. Beebe, another guest of the pensione, and soon to become (os signpost 1) vicar of Lucy's village, is necessary to reassure Charlotte the Emersons' gesture is perfectly all right. These opening scenes introduce the objective story of psychology­­ different manners of thinking:


You think I ought to have accepted. You think I have been narrow-minded?

The scenes also illustrate the objective problem of control, exemplified by straitlaced Aunt Charlotte­­ and the solution of uncontrolled, observed in the freethinking Emersons. The story goal revolves around what is to become of Lucy, a girl of much promise with whom everyone has an interest. Mr. Beebe, listening to her perform passionately at the piano, identifies her solution of uncontrolled:


If Miss Honeychurch ever takes to live as she plays, it will be very exciting­­both for us and for her.

For Lucy is just as uptight as Charlotte.

In Santa Croce with no Baedeker

Concerned for George's future, Mr. Emerson enlists Lucy's help: "My poor boy has brains (ic problem-logic), but he's very muddled." He explains the circumstances (ic domain-universe) of his brooding son's upbringing: "Free from all the superstition that leads men to hate one another in the name of God." After Lucy responds with a cause and effect kind of solution (male mental sex): "Has your son any particular hobby?"­­she excuses herself: "My cousin will be most anxious if I don't get back this instant." Mr. Emerson expresses pity for her constraints (mc problem-control), to which Lucy retorts­­"Poor girl? On the contrary. I think myself a very fortunate girl. I'm thoroughly happy and having a splendid time" (mc issue-denial).

As an example of control as the objective story problem, Charlotte and Eleanor Lavish find themselves lost on the other side of the plaza. Eleanor will not allow Charlotte to consult her Baedeker guide: "We will simply drift" (os solution-uncontrolled). Eleanor further announces to her new acquaintance:


I have my eye on your cousin, Miss Lucy Honeychurch. 'The young English girl transfigured by Italy.' And why should she not be transfigured? (story goal-becoming)

Lucy, on her way back to the hotel, takes in the statues of nude men-all at once she witnesses the blood lust of real men engaged in a fight to the death. George catches Lucy as she faints, and assumes care for her well being (rs thematic issue-morality). Sheet white, Lucy utters one of her many untruths: "I'm perfectly well" (mc issue-denial).

Leaning over a bridge together, George informs Lucy: "Something tremendous has happened. Something's happened to me, and to you" (rs signpost 1-understanding). His steadfast (ic resolve) faith (rs problem) in this change is what drives the relationship story.

The Reverend Beebe, The Reverend Eager, Mr. Emerson, Mr. George Emerson, Miss Eleanor Lavish, Miss Charlotte Bartlett and Miss Honeychurch drive out in carriages to see a view; Italians drive them.

Miss Honeychurch is most interested in the display of affection between the Italian driver and his "sister" (mc concern-subconscious). Wandering through the poppies, George takes Lucy into his arms and without words tempestuously kisses the Edwardian beauty. Alarmed, Charlotte drags Lucy back to the hotel. Using reverse psychology (os domain), she prods Lucy's conscience (os symptom): "I have failed in my duty to your mother (os thematic issue-responsibility), she will never forgive me when you tell her." Much to Charlotte's relief, Lucy determines: "Why need mother hear of it?" (mc issue denial)


Back in Surrey, Lucy continues to behave according to how she thinks others wish her to act (mc problem-control). She accepts the priggish Cecil Vyse's offer of marriage (mc signpost 2-conscious).

Officially Engaged

Cecil suffers through the obligatory (os catalyst) engagement (os thematic counterpoint-commitment) party. He expresses his opinion as such to Lucy, accelerating her eventual distaste of his personality: "When I do think of you it is always in a room." Apparently, with no vista. Cecil and Lucy awkwardly embrace--Lucy recalls (os forewarning-memory) George's ardor. Comparing the two, she cannot help but envision (os requirement) a future (os cost) with Cecil will lack passion.


In Mrs. Vyse's well-appointed home

Mrs. Vyse approves of her son's betrothed: "Lucy is becoming (story goal) one of us!"

An antidote to the strictures of Mrs. Vyse's parlor is the scene in which Lucy is reacquainted with George. Bare-naked. Freddy Honeychurch, Mr. Beebe, and George are skinny-dipping when caught out by Cecil, Mrs. Honeychurch, and Lucy. Lucy's immediate response (mc signpost 3-preconscious) is to laugh-hand covered over her mouth, of course.

How Miss Bartlett's boiler was so tiresome.

"Poor Charlotte" writes that her ". . . boiler is to be had out." Mrs. Honeychurch thinks: "It would be very nice if we asked her to stay. Give her a holiday. . ." (os symptom-conscience). Lucy, Freddy, and Cecil object: "Please . . . spoil us by not asking her to come" (os response-temptation). Mrs. Honeychurch reprimands all, and plans for Charlotte's temporary (os signpost 3-being) stay.

"Under a Loggia"

-A romance set in Italy

As Lucy and George play tennis, Cecil reads aloud a passage from Eleanor Lavish's roman a clef. It describes the kiss between the heroine and hero: "She wandered as though in a dream" (mc thematic counterpoint). Lucy is furious with Charlotte-the chaperone had obviously, and in great detail, recounted her cousin's indiscretion to the romance novelist (os response-temptation). George takes this opportunity to kiss Lucy again (rs response-temptation).

Lying to George

Lucy gives George a dressing down:


Mr. Emerson, go out of this house and don't come back into it again as long as I live here.


You don't mean you're going to marry that man. . . . He wants you for a possession. . . . I love you. I want you to have your own thoughts and ideas and feelings, even when I hold you in my arms (rs domain-physics)....Do you understand how lucky people are when they find what's right for them? (rs concern-obtaining)...This tremendous thing has happened between us...you have to understand that (rs benchmark)!


I have no idea what you're talking about....I will not listen to one more word!

Lying to Cecil

Lucy coolly explains to Cecil she cannot possibly marry him, citing the very reasons (mc symptom-logic) why George had been against the match. Cecil is taken quite aback, and questions her decision (story driver):


If you think I'm in love with someone else, you are very much mistaken!


...I only meant that, there's a force in you that I hadn't known of up 'til now.


If a girl breaks off her engagement everyone thinks: 'Oh, she has someone else. She hopes to get someone else'... it's brutal!

Lying to Mr. Beebe, Mrs. Honeychurch, Freddy, and the servants

After dismissing her fiancé, Lucy continues to avoid addressing her personal problem-she instead concentrates on making plans to disappear (mc symptom-logic):


You must help me persuade (os domain-psychology) mother.




But don't you see....I must get away. Ever so far, before it's known.




That I've broken off my engagement. He mustn't get any ideas!


You mean Mr. [George] Emerson might think it's on his account?


Oh Charlotte, how slow you are.

Lying to Mr. Emerson

Lucy keeps up the pretense that she does not care for George. The elder Mr. Emerson calls Lucy on her deception­­the reason she is running away is because she is in love with George "body and soul." No longer able to deny (mc unique ability) the truth she finally stops (mc growth) lying, and declares with great exasperation: "Well, what did you all think?" (os signpost 4-conceiving; story limit optionlock)

Pensione Bertolini

"Music and life mingle" for Lucy (judgment-good) as the newlyweds begin their happily ever after. Lucy and George honeymoon in Florence­­kissing on the window ledge of their room with a view (outcome-success).

About the Author

KE Monahan Huntley is an editor and publisher based in Southern California. As one of the original contributors to Dramatica, she helped edit and analyze many of the examples. In addition, her numerous articles provided an insightful "conversational" approach to the theory. Today she can be found at Write Between the Lines or follow her on Twitter @kemhuntley.

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