The actions of people speak for their character. Some approach life through the senses and some approach it through spirit. Others adhere to convention and some do not. Yet, any way one approaches life, every action one makes indicates defining characteristics about who the person is as an individual. In A Room With A View Mr. Eager and Mr. Emerson are quite opposite in the way they approach situations. Therefore, they demonstrate their character by the things they do and the words they say throughout the novel.
When Mr. Eager attempts to separate the brother and sister on the carriage, Mr. Emerson says the following:
Leave them alone, Mr. Emerson begged the chaplain, of whom he stood in no awe. Do we find happiness so often that we should turn it off the box when it happens to sit there? To be driven by loversA king might envy us, and if we part them its more like sacrilege than anything I know. (Chapter 6)
He does not want love to be interrupted under any circumstances. Mr. Emerson does not understand why anyone would want to take away happiness, when there is so little to go around. He even uses the term sacrilege because Mr. Eager is a priest and maybe that would be easier for him to understand. Mr. Emersons view of life is: he sees things as being about happiness and love. According to the standards of his time, he is flying in the face of convention.
When the two lovers are separated Mr. Eager proclaims, Victory at last! But Mr. Emerson quickly retorts, It is not victory. It is defeat. You have parted two people who were happy.(Chapter 6) According to the way that Mr. Eager views life, two lovers hugging, touching and kissing is vulgar. But, Mr. Emerson thinks that it is wonderful and that there should be more loving in life. Nevertheless, Mr. Eager thinks that it is not proper conduct because he is a priest and in his world, it is not appropriate to show affection in public. Conversely, Mr. Emerson regards the behavior in the carriage as a beautiful and natural part of life.
In general, Mr. Eager looks down on mankind. He thinks that on the average, man is ignorant and unconscious.
If you will not think me rude, we residents sometimes pity you poor tourists not a littleliving herded together in pensions or hotels, quite unconscious of anything that is outside Baedeker, their one anxiety to get done or through and go on somewhere else.(Chapter 6)
This is a very negative stereotype of tourists. He thinks that all tourists are uninformed and preoccupied. Mr. Eagers view is very odd because he is a priest and he is supposed to embrace all of mankind. Italy is a large country and it contains many historic sites. Tourists will often be fascinated and move quickly in order to see the entire country: another example of how oblivious Mr. Eagers view of life is.
Mr. Emerson is sleeping through all of Mr. Eagers ramblings and generalizations. He does not even dignify him with an argument on the matter because Mr. Emerson knows that all people, including tourists, do not fit Mr. Eagers description. He knows that people, by nature, are curious and can be energetic, which, according to Mr. Emerson, is a natural facet of human life. He believes that people should have a passion for life.
Even though the times have changed, there are still distinct differences between liberals and conservatives. No matter what people say about how times have changed, there are still opposing forces. The world contains many different cultures and religions, each with different views of acceptable behavior. Today, it would be rare that someone would stop a carriage because two people where embracing in the front. This is because todays society has changed so much. But, one can understand both where Mr. Eager and Mr. Emerson are coming from. As the world becomes smaller, educated societies are becoming more tolerant of opposing ideas and beliefs.