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Unformatted text preview: Structure of The American Almost all of James' novels are structured in the same way. There must be a center — something toward which all the lines point and which "supremely matters." This is essentially James' own explanation of his structure. The thing that "supremely matters," is the central idea of the novel or that around which the novel functions. In The American, the thing that "supremely matters" is the love affair between Christopher Newman and Claire de Cintré. Therefore, almost all of the scenes and action of the novel are designed to hinder or to bring to completion this romance. James' creative process is also important to an understanding of the structure of his works. He begins his novels with a situation and a character. Many writers, like Nathaniel Hawthorne, would begin with an idea or theme in mind and then would create a situation and characters which would...
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- Fall '08
- The American, supremely matters, central situation