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The Portrait of a Lady. Discuss James representations of 'places' for women in this novel.

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  • Essay length: 5003 words
  • Submitted: 31/03/2006
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AS and A Level British History: Monarchy & Politics

The first 200 words of this essay...

Q2. 'A woman it seems to me has no natural place anywhere; wherever she finds herself, she has to remain on the surface and more or less to control'

Discuss James' representations of 'places' for women in his novels.

There is an impressive range of female characters in Henry James' fiction. Drawn to the world of wealth and leisure as a subject, a world which was at the same time, ironically the context for his own hermetic labours as a writer, James perhaps inevitably came to concentrate on the feminine. Correspondingly, most of his male characters seem to be concentrating on women too.

It seems a woman's place and her relationship with others in James's novels is to act as a sign. Through the exploration of women as signs in James' novels, I will focus on a specific pattern and try to trace a development in his use of women as sign and women as consciousness, and the implications each has for the other. I will thus concentrate on Daisy Miller, The American and The Portrait of a Lady which seem to me to exemplify various stages of treatment in this pattern. Also these texts form

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