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A “drama of discrimination” English 391, “Techniques of the Observer” March 31, 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "A “drama of discrimination” English 391, “Techniques of the Observer” March 31, 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 A “drama of discrimination” English 391, “Techniques of the Observer” March 31, 2011

2  James calls Strether “a belated man of the world—belated because he had endeavored so long to escape being one, and now at last had really to face his doom” (Preface 7):  “There would have been of course the case of the Strether prepared, wherever presenting himself, only to judge and feel meanly; but he would have…[been] enveloped in no legend whatever. The actual man’s note, from the first of our seeing it struck, is the note of discrimination, just as his drama is to become, under stress, the drama of discrimination.”

3  Story as an alternation between picture and scene  “Picture”: reflective descriptions presented through the center of consciousness, “the parts that prepare, that tend in fact to over-prepare, for scenes…” (Preface 12)  “Scene”: the dramatic action, “that which “justif[ies] and crown[s] the preparation.”

4  Mr. Lambert Louis Strether “encaged and provided for…has exhibitional conditions to meet, in a word, that forbid the terrible fluidity of self- revelation” (Preface 11)  Maria Gostrey “is the reader’s friend…she acts in that capacity…with exemplary devotion, from beginning to end of the book” (Preface 12).  Mrs. Newsome, “away off with her finger on the pulse of Massachusetts, [she] should be not less intensely than circuitously present through the whole thing, should be no less felt as to be reckoned with…” (Preface 10)


6  “The fact that he had failed, as he considered, in everything, in each relation and in half a dozen trades, as he liked luxuriously to put it, might have made, might still make, for an empty present; but it stood solidly for a crowded past. It had not been, so much achievement missed, a light yoke nor a short road. It was at present as if the backward picture had hung there, the long crooked course, grey in the shadow of his solitude. It had been a dreadful cheerful sociable solitude, a solitude of life or choice, of community; there has been but three of four persons in it” [Waymarsh--Mrs. Newsome—Miss Gostrey has “shown signs of becoming a third”—behind them, the “pale figure of his real youth”] (James 61).

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