American - Damon Barnett 11/27/2007 Assignment 2 Why Newman...

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Damon Barnett 11/27/2007 Assignment 2 Why Newman Did Not Expose the Bellegarde Family Morality and knowledge of the world around us is often basis for many of our decisions in life. In his novel, The American, Henry James paints a fascinating portrait of an American in foreign land, searching for meaning in his mediocre, and business consumed life. The protagonist, Christopher Newman, is an honest and hardworking man, whose morals and self-discipline are tested throughout the novel. The incriminating letter from Mrs. Bread is an important instance of Newman’s righteousness. Through Newman’s behavior throughout the novel, James shows the moral high ground that brings Newman to eventually destroy the letter. At the beginning of the novel when Newman unexpectedly sees his old war friend, Tom Tristram, he tells the story of his arrival to Europe. Newman explains that he was going to get “ahead of another party…in the stock market” (21). The party “once played a very mean trick” on him and he wanted to get back at this person for their behavior (21). Newman says, he “felt awfully savage at the time” (21). On the carriage ride over to do the business Newman began to feel “a moral disgust for the thing [he] was going to do (21). Soon after Newman decided that he need to get away and concern himself with things more important in life than money. Newman felt frustrated because he had been taken advantage of in the past, and he was given the opportunity to get back at this person who had done him wrong. Newman soon realized that he would be no better than the person who he despised if he were to get back at him.
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Claire hurt Newman by not marrying him and Newman was furious at her family for controlling her decision. Newman tried everything he could to change Claire’s mind
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course ENGL 353 taught by Professor Griffith during the Fall '07 term at University of Washington.

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American - Damon Barnett 11/27/2007 Assignment 2 Why Newman...

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