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Feelings in Henry James’ Novel Washington Square

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I’m depressed. Well, how could I not be? I just finished reading Washington Square. I’m happy it’s over, but I’m not happy I finished it. No, that doesn’t make sense does it? Lets just say, I had a feeling how it was going to end up; I just hoped that I would be wrong. Unfortunately the one time I didn’t want to be right I was. Isn’t that the way it always works? I guess so.

Catherine, dear plain old, Catherine. Poor girl, father thinks she’s plain, she thinks she’s plain, her aunt thinks she’s plain, even the man who she thinks loves her thinks she’s plain. Although James erases this thought in the beginning of the book I still believe it, “plain” equals “ugly”. I feel so bad for her but I guess you had to have what happened to her happen, or else we wouldn’t have such a depressing story.

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I tell you though, I’m glad my daddy isn’t rich or I would swear off guys as well. I felt so horrible when I knew before her what Morris was like. Which brings me to Morris Townsend. He’s a rat, I smelt a rat from the beginning but I figured it was just because for me guys for the most part are always rats. But of course he was after her money, she was “plain” and her father was “rich” no her father wasn’t “rich”. By god he was rich. So Catherine’s got a big dowry, lots of money, but she’s “plain”. Oh, well the money will compensate. This shows you the kind of man he is. Well at least it erases the theory that women are gold diggers. James makes the reader dislike Catherine’s father. He makes him seem like an insensitive uncaring prick, but I really don’t think he is. Yes I know parents are supposed to think that their child is the most beautiful thing in the world but hey, that theory’s over rated. It’s not that he didn’t love his daughter; he just knew the truth. He was realistic about the entire idea of this strikingly handsome man falling head over heals in love with his daughter who isn’t the greatest looking chick in the world. Something doesn’t quite fit. But it’s a known fact that children never believe what their parents say. Who trusts the person who’s had more experience in life? Where would the sense be in that? Although he had a funny way of showing it, Catherine’s father truly cared for her. Well we’ve already established that she’s not going to listen to his better judgment, but still, it didn’t help that she had an aunt who believed in Cinderella and Prince Charming fairy tales. Her aunt is a quack. James doesn’t go so far as to say this much but that’s what she is. She believes that everyone will find love. All she’s trying to do is live vicariously through her niece. Her father says, “All he wants is your money” she says, “no he wants your heart” and all that other mushy stuff. Her father really is a smart man. He knew from the start that his sister was going to cause this kind of trouble. He was right. It’s hard enough that she’s in love with a scumbag, but she’s got one saying he’s rotten and the other saying he’s perfect. Instead of ending up alone at the end she should’ve ended in an asylum. Hell, I know that would drive me crazy. Hmm lets see . . .who’s got the problem. Catherine maybe? Yes I think I’ll go with Catherine. Catherine is torn between the cultural forces that would have her marry into “elite” society, when she’s in love with someone she can never have-in this case a handsome young man who wants her only for her money. Of course she doesn’t know this yet but she will. The poor girl. Her father forbids her to marry Morris. Having a father disapprove of the man you love is a hard thing. Still loving the man your father disapproves of is even harder. Then later finding out that the man you’d been fighting for wouldn’t have done the same for you is devastating. Catherine knows she’s right, that Morris loves her. She knows this all the way up until the point where she finds out he doesn’t. (Well, that would be logical wouldn’t it?) But to solve the problem of being forbidden to marry, she merely stays unwed until her father’s death. When Morris shows up ten years later and then decides to try to wed her for her money, she’s got a new problem. She’s realized who he really is. So she rejects him and condemns herself to live alone rather than compromise to the crooked social order of both men and women that has limited her whole life. Now it’s just a hunch, but I honestly think she dies a virgin and without knowing the feeling of being loved. Now can you see why this book is just depressing? I’m so glad it’s over and I’m so glad this reports over too. So I don’t have to talk about this depressing story any longer. I have a feeling her aunt wouldn’t liked this story very much. I mean where’s the glass slipper?

Cite this Feelings in Henry James’ Novel Washington Square

Feelings in Henry James’ Novel Washington Square. (2019, Jan 28). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/james/

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