The Portrait of a Lady Essay

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Norvell is an independent educational writer who specializes in English and literature. In this essay, Norvell discusses James's descriptions of the various houses in The Portrait of a Lady and how these descriptions function in the story.

Every novel can be said to have an architecture in the sense of having a structure. But The Portrait of a Lady has an entire neighborhood of architectures. It has a minutely planned, carefully executed structure that reflects the sensibilities of its designer every bit as clearly as a great building reflects those of its architect. But, in addition, James uses houses throughout the novel to create his settings, to establish moods, to illuminate the characters who occupy them, and to foreshadow what kinds of things will happen to his main character during the time she spends in each house.

Since the novel opens in England, Isabel's childhood home in...

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This section contains 1,287 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Portrait of a Lady Study Guide
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The Portrait of a Lady from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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