Before “The Portrait of a Lady” was published, Henry James had already been famous for “Daisy Miller”. Still, “The Portrait of a Lady” remains one of his most popular novels.
Before you start writing “The Portrait of a Lady” essay, we advise you find out more about James’ biography. Most of his adult life Henry James had to spend in Europe, which is perfectly depicted in the novel. Your awareness of James’ attitude towards Europe and Europeans can be rather helpful for understanding the novel and creating “The Portrait of a Lady” essay.
Here are more issues for you to consider in “The Portrait of a Lady” essays.
Comparing Europe and America
We have already mentioned James’ experience of living in Europe for a long time. Do you know why? It can be one of the key issues to consider in “The Portrait of a Lady” essays. So, in what ways are Americans and Europeans different? Do you think these differences are the same if compared to the 19th century? Express your opinion in “The Portrait of a Lady” essay.
“Architecture” of the novel
If you read the novel, you should know that it provides descriptions of various houses. Explain this peculiarity of the novel in “The Portrait of a Lady” essay. Do all those houses characterize their habitants? Try to draw some parallels between houses and people in “The Portrait of a Lady” essay.
There are some other questions that we suggest you answer in “The Portrait of a Lady” essays.
- Are we free to do what we want or are we limited by the rules of the community we are living in?
- What were Isabel’s motivations to return to Gilbert?
- What did Isabel really want?
- What do Isabel’s responses to each of her possible suitors tell about her values and ambitions?