• What Strength and Weaknesses of the American Character Was Revealed by Isabel Archer?

Topics: Marriage, Henry James, New York Edition Pages: 2 (467 words) Published: December 23, 2010
Isabel Archer is a young American woman who lost her Mom when she was young, and who received a rather varied and eccentric upbringing. At the beginning of the book, her father dies and she is left to figure out what to do with her life. At this crucial time in Isabel’s life her eccentric aunt Mrs. Touchett arrives in America. She decides that Isabel needs more opportunities to fulfill her potential than she will find in America and so she invites her to return to England with her. Throughout Isabel’s character many of the strength and weaknesses of the American character was revealed. Isabel embodies James’ idea of the American spirit and attitude. Isabel brought with her from America that she was not ready to give up or exchange her liberty and independence. She was energetic, honest, and most of all desires her illimitable freedom. Also her great knowledge and inflated ideals made her an interpretation of the best model of James’s formula of the American girl. Besides that Isabel’s winning personality and personal beauty appeal to many men. Her cousin Ralph adores her and she has proposals from an American capitalist, Caspar Goodwood, and an English Lord, Lord Warburton. Yet she refuses them all, because she is dreaming of an adventure and she is afraid that if she marries she will miss an opportunity for something more. Then, when she encountered the realities of her world she was able to learn, she was refined and strengthened to look at her problems frankly in the face and not to shy away from them. Isabel’s weakness comes out of her dreams, hasty wrong decisions and naiveté. She meets and falls for Gilbert Osmond and despite warnings from her friends, she chooses to marry him. Isabel was deluded to think of Osmand as the most cultivated and the most beautiful person she knew. She failed to realize before marriage that Osmand was actually using civilization and culture to achieve his selfish ends. Also she misunderstand or recognize people, she...
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