The Ambassadors Themes

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Disillusionment

Strether runs a gauntlet of disillusioning circumstances on his journey to wakefulness and clear sight. Strether realizes that "to be right" he must see things as they are. Right things are seen and understood clearly. "The wrong . . . was the obscure." In Woollett, this means seeing things according to Mrs. Newsome's definitions. Strether's actual experiences force him to disavow Mrs. Newsome's theories while maintaining the definitions of right and wrong. That means sacrificing all preconceived notions derived from books, paintings, nostalgia, or the theories of his betrothed. It also means solitude. Strether gains the brand of traitor when he tries to share his knowledge. The disillusionment with the narrow-mindedness of Woollett was bound to happen. In the end, events also destroy Strether's belief in perfection.

This last ideal will vanish during an attempt to enjoy views of France made famous by the Impressionists. From a train station, Strether walks...

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This section contains 1,230 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Ambassadors Study Guide
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The Ambassadors from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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