James' creative process is also important to understanding 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 to illuminate the basic idea, but James' technique is just the opposite. He created a certain situation, and then he would place his characters in it. James would then, in effect, sit back and simply observe what would happen when a character was confronted with this new situation. Often, James said, he had no particular ending in mind when he began a novel. Instead, he would let the character and situation determine the outcome. This allowed him more freedom and allowed him the opportunity of "getting to know" his character by observing him in a series of scenes. Thus, the central situation in
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