Four Meetings

Topics: Henry James, Fiction, Mind Pages: 3 (1216 words) Published: February 6, 2012
Four Meetings Analysis
In stark contrast to Dickens’, Henry James writing style captures not the imagination of the reader inasmuch as the reader’s own personal experiences and reality. It is this reality that James makes use of in order to draw in the reader. This writing style can best be depicted as literary literalism. His fine grasp of the human mind allows him to explore the psyche of his characters in a deep and profound way. The vivid descriptions he paints are not brought to life so much with adjectives as with actions and thought processes. Personally, I consider this style of writing all the more engaging and enjoyable. Chapter three in particular of The Four Meetings and through much of Pension Beaurepas, James writing captivates the reader, allowing him to truly experience the workings of the narrator’s mind. In order to best understand the motivations and intentions of the work, it is necessary to better understand the author and the historical context in which he was living. Although he was not privy to live a mere 50 years later, I would imagine classifying James as an existentialist. The value that James gives to Ms. Spencer’s curiosity and naiveté is most noteworthy. Her shy, subdued, withdrawn personality – further accented by her still being single is a clear sign of disdain that James has for such character. Her only downfall it seems is her innocence. Were it not for the extreme degree of trust that she had in her cousin, her life never would have turned out so miserable. This is not a condemnation of her exercising her free will but rather not knowing whom to trust. The scenery portrayed throughout the novel seemed to mimic or influence Ms Spencer’s character. James seems to portray America and its citizens as curious, innocent, dreamy and naïve while portraying continental Europe as sophisticated, decadent and conventional. While in America, Ms Spencer is able to fully express and live out her freedoms, Italy provides her only with...
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