Portrait Of Lady

Great Essays
The Portrait of a Lady: A Fiction of Portraits
I. Introduction Indicated from the title, The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James is a novel full portrait of a young lady named Isabel Archer, the main character. In first sight, it is easy to think this novel simply as a description of a lady provided by the narrator. The term “portrait” gives us a feeling that we are to see a lady fully depicted, or, portrayed inside the frame of the narrative. However, as readers read along, they get to know that there is more depth to the title and therefore that the title can imply more significance. Indeed, as the story unfolds, various versions of these “portraits” of a lady are given. They change, and new versions are constantly created and discarded. As
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These characteristics of portraits discussed above are constantly used and mixed sophisticatedly inside the novel. Therefore, this paper will show what kind of portraits are drawn inside The Portrait of a Lady and discuss in what sense it becomes a “portrait”, highlighting its significance of portraying the reality. Also, by pointing out the limitations this narrative bears, this paper will also point out how this limitation ironically becomes a very real representation of …show more content…
This novel gives plenty of portraits that Isabel draws about each character, situations or society around her, and most importantly, herself. Although this book is written in a third-person point of view, we get to hear Isabel’s voices and her thoughts throughout the novel, making the readers closest to her than any other characters inside the novel. By gaining access to her stream of consciousness, readers get to see how she comes to like or dislike a character, how she perceives the world and reacts to it. By this, readers get a glimpse of how her portraits are full of illusions. This aspect of her is supported by descriptions that narrator provides us. She is introduced as a person “was a young person of many theories; her imagination was remarkably active” (62). From the start of the novel, the narrator presents readers with the fact that she is proud in her sense of judgment and personal independence. These characteristics of Isabel are shown throughout the novel; The Portrait of a Lady, after all, is a story of Isabel’s mistakes and the outcomes. Trapped in her own frame of perspective, she wrongly portraits out people – namely, Madame Merle and Gilbert Osmond. Isabel looks up to Madame Merle and considers her as someone who is “cultivated and civilized, so wise and so easy, and still make so light of it” (197). She also thought Osmond as a charming, beautiful

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