In the second half of A Room With A View by E. M. Forster, the characters boldly defy societal norms and show no respect for figures of authority like Cecil. Instead, they engage in various enjoyable activities such as bathing, bumble-puppy (an older version of tetherball), and tennis. The main participants in these pastimes are the young characters in the novel, including Lucy, George, and Freddy. They view Cecil as a killjoy and reject the rigid social etiquette he personifies.
The text illustrates a scenario where three individuals, Freddy, George, and Mr. Beebe, go to the woods for a communal bath in the Sacred Lake. However, Cecil is not present during this outing. The three men undress without hesitation and immerse themselves in the pond for a refreshing dip. Upon entering the water, Freddy and Mr. Beebe playfully splash each other while being careful not to offend George, who they splash with some caution. Nevertheless, George’s youthful spirit erupts, and he retaliates by splashing, dunking, and driving them out of the pool with enthusiasm. In a similar manner, the men disregard their clothes that symbolize civilized society and its rules. They boldly declare their independence by stating that no venture can begin without them. They fully embrace their carefree nature by engaging in playful roughhousing in the woods. On the contrary, Cecil reacts differently when he encounters the three naked men while being accompanied by Mrs. Honeychurch and Lucy. He immediately decides to lead the women away from the scene, adhering to society’s expectation that such a spectacle is inappropriate for them. He believes that it is not their concern and that they should follow his authority by focusing on their own needs.
A few days later, Lucy, Freddy, and Minnie seize the opportunity to engage in a short round of bumble-puppy while Cecil is away. This innocent game quickly turns into a spirited scuffle between the three. Without Cecil’s disapproving presence, they are able to play without restraint, as playing bumble-puppy was not allowed when he was present. Fully engrossed in the game, Freddy, who had a knack for riling up little girls, changes Minnie’s behavior from that of a polite niece to something else entirely.
Beebe turns into a “howling wilderness,” Freddy successfully disregards convention and tradition, empowering Lucy and Minnie to do the same and forget about the domineering Cecil in order to have fun. In a game of tennis, the players ignore Cecil as he reads and criticizes a “bad” novel aloud to them, focusing instead on enjoying themselves.
Floyd, George, and Cecil are invited to play doubles tennis, but Cecil declines because he believes he would ruin the game. He feels he is only good for reading books and is restricted by his own self-consciousness. On the other hand, Lucy agrees to play and admits she likes music but prefers tennis even more. She enjoys wearing comfortable clothes and being active outdoors rather than sitting at the piano. She realizes she is more comfortable breaking the rules of upper society and being herself. Lucy feels trapped indoors under Cecil’s judgmental gaze and fears of offending him. In Forster’s novel, the characters never include Cecil in their activities because he disapproves of their playful and childish behavior. Fortunately, Cecil also refuses their invitations because he would disapprove of their unrefined fun if he were present.
Due to his strict and aristocratic upbringing, Cecil believes in the importance of proper behavior among the upper classes. As a result, he struggles to connect with his peers and find joy in simple pleasures like games. This prevents him from learning how to enjoy himself. Cecil represents the negative outcome of people who prioritize their pride and snobbery over the simple joys of games, life, and nature. These individuals ultimately lead uninteresting and gloomy lives.