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VICTIM OF CIRCUMSTANCES: A STUDY ON HENRY JAMES’ “WASHINGTON SQUARE

 

B. PAVITHRA

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH

PSG COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCE

COIMBATORE

TAMIL NADU

INDIA

                                           DOI: 10.24113/ijellh5284                                     https://doi.org/10.24113/ijellh5284                                               

 

Abstract

The study examines the gloriously famed work by Henry James, ‘Washington Square’. It is one of the very few works by Henry James that focuses on American characters in an American setting. The story holds the significance of being written from the childhood memories of the author (McGlinn, 2004). The theme of nostalgia and Old New York often makes appearances in the author’s most works. Washington Square is often described as a ‘psychological novel’, as most of the action takes place in the minds of the characters. The novel revolves around the life of Dr.Austin Sloper, his daughter Catherine, his widowed sister Lavinia Penniman and Morris Townsend, the suitable suitor for Catherine in Lavinia’s eyes and other secondary characters including Dr.Sloper’s other sister Mrs.Almond. The study aims to focus on the character of Catherine Sloper, a ‘dull’ girl in the eyes of her father, criticised for her lack of intelligence and beauty, a real victim of circumstances. Though a tragedy, the novella entails the story of a young woman who emerges victoriously from years of submission, finally finding her voice (Garbowski, 2013). The most fascinating and absorbing element of Washington Square is definitely the character evolution of Catherine Sloper. A closer look into the story permits one to identify the real underlying theme, which is not great romances, disputed inheritances or dealing with failure and agony but about the cultivation of an identity, the finding of oneself after being buried for so long.

Keywords: victim, circumstances, identity, finding oneself, Catherine.

journal of english

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2017-04-04T09:06:27+00:00
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