In The Europeans, Henry James depicts the shortcomings of world that is totally devoid of festoons. Discuss.

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Henry James’ novel, The Europeans, highlights the contrasting lifestyles of American and European culture and how they interact when forced together. James shows his readers that there are a great many similarities and differences between the two nations. He also demonstrates the general differences in society, addressing things like the inferiority and superiority complexes present in both cultures. Henry James was born in New York City into a wealthy, intellectually inclined family. His father was interested in various religious and literary pursuits, which are both things we see James exploring in this text. In his youth, James traveled with his family back and forth between Europe and America, finally settling in Europe and becoming a ‘Europeanized American’, a lot like Eugenia and her brother Felix. While James does, in fact, point out the many divergences between the cultures, he does not actually show one as being superior to the other, merely different. James has a tendency to show off Europe’s more diverse and layered culture, perceived as the more sophisticated and interesting of the two. We can argue that he does not say that America, his home country, is any less interesting, just a little more simplistic and maybe conservative, especially considering the puritan society depicted. The American people in the novel are portrayed as being very conservative, moral people of high standards that, with the exception of Gertrude and Mr. Acton, don’t seem to be able to think outside the box so to speak. He also insinuates that Europe is more ornate and mysterious, that they need to create façades that cover up their inadequacies, making European society appear perfect, although the reality is far from it. It can also be said that James seems to view American society as being possibly too plain and uninteresting. The Europeans is a novel that creates clear
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