Rhetorical Devices and Chracter Analysis of Washington Square by Henry James

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Steven Liounis 2/23/13
Ms. Soltis AP Language & Composition
In his novel Washington Square, Henry James uses a number of rhetorical and literary devices to employ, develop, and fully elaborate on the characters introduced throughout his novel. Each character is introduced after an interaction with the Sloper family, the activities of which are the main focus of the novel. After devoting two chapters to the establishment of the story background, James begins to introduce characters, usually opening their entrances into the story by giving a physical description or a background of that character. It is only after a character has entered into the story that James begins to develop that character and simultaneously the plot overall. The level at which James characterizes the individuals in the story paves the way for their interactions and leads to the overall growth of the plot.

Each character in the story have their own separate personality traits, a background that gives reason for their current position, and their economic value and how it affects the role they play in the story. Catherine Sloper, the daughter of the revered Doctor Austin Sloper. Throughout the story, it became clear that Catherine was an unexpected disappointment. Her mother and father were both extremely successful and beautiful and people. She was to inherit a huge fortune and to live among New York’s elite class. However, she was not as appealing as expected physically, and her father has personally described her as rather dull and uninteresting. As a result, Catherine has developed into a friendly, if rather secluded and quiet individual. However, she has demonstrated she is passionate about certain things, such as clothing and theater. She was also observed to grow quite a bit louder or act quite a bit cleverer. As Dr. Sloper quotes, she is like a light from a lighthouse. She remains dark for awhile, but will eventually turn around and shine...
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