By Elizabeth Allen
A whole size examine of James' use of the "American woman" heroine in his novels, from Daisy Miller via Isabel Archer to Milly Theale and Maggie Verver.
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An entire size research of James' use of the "American woman" heroine in his novels, from Daisy Miller via Isabel Archer to Milly Theale and Maggie Verver.
Extra resources for A Woman’s Place in the Novels of Henry James
It is for that which is the birthright of every being capable of receiving it,- the freedom, the religious, the intelligent freedom of the universe to use its means, to learn its secret, as far as Nature has enabled them, with God alone for their guide and judge. 42 It was thus not only the growing social freedom of the American girl, to enjoy herself, challenge European convention, appear alone and unchaperoned, talk openly with 'gentlemen', but the growing challenge of the right to self-culture, self-guidence for the development of one's self which made her both a vital sign ofher emerging nation and a rebellious contradiction to the function of sign itself.
D. 8 The American girl, as she appears in James's early stories and novels, has all the major characteristics identified and discussed in Chapter 1. She is independent, moral, free, innocent, and her attractiveness is either 'delicate' or of a pale and rather asexual kind. 9 In her less refined or serious form, she may be ignorant, brash or simply naive. 10 She is, of course, always unmarried. In using the American girl as central to his exploration of the interaction of American and European society, it was not at first in the girl herself that James placed the distinctive American moral consciousness, and when she was endowed with moral seriousness the conscious response to its clash with social convention was again, in the early work, usually located in a male onlooker.
3 I 5). To free him for action, he needs his existence to be rendered intelligible by the structures of signification which European culture appears to hold out. Claire de Cintre, as woman, is, like Mrs Tristram, the instrument of mediation, the woman who, as sign, can signify to and for Newman, interpreting the world to him and him to the world. Richard Poirier, in his discussion of the open and closed characters in The American, 14 describes how Claire is invested with certain American and open qualities, as for instance in this passage: Madame de Cintre's face had, to Newman's eye, a range of expression as delightfully vast as the wind-streaked, cloud-flecked distance on a Western Prairie (p.
A Woman’s Place in the Novels of Henry James by Elizabeth Allen