"A Room with a View" Reader's GuidePage 3
Much of the action of A Room with a View takes place in Surrey, a county in southern England. Surrey lies right outside greater London, and has been a commuting community since time immemorial. Indeed the Lonely Planet Guide to Britain calls it the “Heart of Commuterville,” “dull,” and “uninspiring.”
A recent article in the Daily Telegraph defended the region and its people. “Surreyites are as proud as Yorkshiremen of Liverpudlians – they just don’t brag as much.” It describes the area as “clean, civilized, and picturesque” with “leafy leisurely communities.”
Either description fits well into the feel created by E.M. Forster for A Room with a View. In his novel, Surrey is clean, civilized, picturesque, dull, and uninspiring. That’s all kind of the point. Although it may be, in many ways, charming, the views, physically, and more importantly, mentally and emotionally, are very limited.
Forster said, “England has always been disinclined to accept human nature.” This is Forster’s symbolic region of restraint, the closed, viewless window.