Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady 1.Consider the way in which, on a small scale, the excerpt develops the broader preoccupation of the novel with the clash between worlds and cultures. The first sentence of this excerpt show to the reader the image of Mr. Touchett about the American young women who has just arrived,, who is that strange women?'' Lord Warbunton notice that Isabel is an ,, independent young lady'' ,,from the way she handles the dog''. When Mr. Touchett asks where his wife is, lord Warbunton seems to confirm himself that the young lady is independent ,, I suppose the young lady has left her somewhere ; that's a part of the independence''. From the discussion with Ralph we can observe that Isabel is a smilling person in contrast with his cousin, who is very serious, formal. When Ralph looks at his cousin he notice that ,, she was unexpectedly pretty'', as if he had a different oppinion about the American women. Ralph seems to be a positive European character , he seems to be a sensitive person because his oppinion about American women is suddenly changed. He is hospitable with his cousin ,, You're very welcome here. I'm delighted to see you.'' Another character that the excerpt present us is Lord Warburton, who, exemplifies European qualities in their most positive form. He is sophisticated and conventional .The things that make Isabel distinctively American, such as her energy and independent attitude, are fresh and interesting to the European characters. Her American qualities are exaggerated so that her directness is actually rudeness. Isabel is a naive person and that's not a quality for a woman arrived for the first time to a new continent ,, The young lady seemed to have a great deal of confidence both in herself and in others; but this abrupt generosity made her blush''. When Isabel finds out who lord Warbunton is, she says,, Oh, I hoped there would be a lord; it's just like a novel!'' as if the image about what she read in the books is confirmed, an other proof of simplicity. There is a contrast between the American character and the European character. Regarding the dialogues from this excerpt we can make ourselves an image about how Henry James see the American and the people on the Old Continent. Americans tend to be independent, naive, energetic, sincere, direct and spontaneous. Conversely, Euro- peans are sophisticated, lethargic, formal, insincere. 2.Give examples of textual details which might help in defining James's style as cautious, therefore subjective. Henry James use dialogue as actions for his characters. The novel's characters seem like they can step off the page and into our lives. Despite the fact that the narrator is frequently critical of the characters, and certainly has quite strong opinions, the novel refrains from placing overt judgment on them. James does not exploit his personal feelings about the characters and the action. His dialogue is also funny at times. The conversation between Ralph and his cousin, Isabel, gives to the reader the chance to smile. When Isabel asks Ralph,, Is this your little dog, sir?'' , Ralph replies ,,He was mine a moment ago; but you've suddenly acquired a remarkable air of property in him''. Another example is when Isabel presents herself to her cousin,, I ought to tell you that I'm probably your cousin'' and Ralph exclaimed laughing ,,Probably?''. The third example from this excerpt is the passage that refers to Ralph's father:,,Is one of those gentelmen your father?'' ,,Yes the elder one-the one sitting down'' said Ralph. ,, The girl gave a laugh.''I don't suppose it's the other one.'' James's subjective style is revealed by allusions, suppositions, first and third person limited, free indirect discourse, interrelated layers.
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