Themes And Characters In Henry James's Novel Washington Square

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A Harden Heart Henry James’s novel, Washington Square, talks about a failed love story of a girl, Catherine Sloper. She receives a large sum of inheritance from her mother who has unfortunately died after give her birth. Because of her unexpected wealth, a handsome suitor name Morris Townsend sees the chance and plans to seize her money. Catherine’s clever but cold hearted father, Dr. Sloper, sees through Morris’ charming appearance, so he becomes a stumbling block that stop them from marriage. Due to Dr. Sloper’s brutal intervention and Morris’ wicked intention, Catherine’s first and last love ends in a tragedy. The pressures she receives from her father and her lover forces her to become more and more mature over time. There are several…show more content…
As James Henry describes Catherine as a girl who “has simply a plain, dull, gentle countenance”, she disappoints her father who wants an unusual daughter (8). She has been compare to her dead mother, who shares a same forename with her, by her father oftentimes throughout the entire story. This put a heavy pressure on Catherine that makes her try to justify and show her talents by please Dr. Sloper. According to James’ description of Catherine’s will “Her deepest desire is to please him, and her conception of happiness is to know that she has succeeded in pleasing him” she wants her father to be proud of her. (9) But Dr. Sloper’s view on her never changed, for he is never satisfied with her since her birth. She tries to be a good daughter so that he will reconsider her marriage with Morris. But when that does not work, she feels extremely despair for change her stubborn father’s mind after all. She finally realizes that she has a stone heart father who will never influences even a little bit by his unintelligent daughter’s words. Thereby, in later chapters, forsake the idea of try to persuade her father, Catherine does not put any effort on change her father’s
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