Henry James Essay

3098 words - 13 pages

Taylor Groenhout
Ms. Schaner
AP Language
22 May 2012
Two Different Worlds
With the “BOORRRUUMMMM” of the big horn on our giant ship, the captain sounded the supposedly great news of our arrival. Although I love traveling, sitting in this musty old coat pocket is quite a bore and our destination on this business trip is less than desirable. “I’m back…” my master droned as he stepped onto the unsophisticated American soil. Whipping me out of his chamber of a coat pocket and handing me to the tall uniformed man, I was admired, scanned, and stamped. The man at the port had never seen such an accomplished one of my kind before. I have ventured between America and the always great Europe an ...view middle of the document...

Arriving at our final destination, the sound of crazed women buzzed through the air. Our mission in America was to pull in his declining readership, and no matter how much he hated that his large pool of readers were women, he needed to excite them for his upcoming fiction novels (O’Donnell n.pag.). Stepping up to the podium, he placed the pocket of safe keeping, which I resided in, on the chair next to him and began his “Lesson of Balzac” for the doting women before him. While performing the speech, I have heard him recite so many times, I began to remember the countless hours he spent looking in the mirror rehearsing these very prophetic words. This was his big moment, and for the next several months, we would travel around the New World delivering this speech for clubs and colleges across the nation (O’Donnell n.pag.).
Sitting there, my mind wandered at first to the horrors of being in this ghastly territory for such a long while and second to the motives behind this high-profile speaking tour. When Henry’s agent, James Pinker, mentioned the nonsense of Henry visiting America to pull in readership, I was appalled and Henry was reluctant. Then, after intense consideration and discouragement from his brother William, Henry decided he would conquer the adventure and noted it was for purely economic reasons (O’Donnell n.pag.). One late night while he was working on this grandiose speech and I was lying on the dresser, I heard Henry shout “The Lesson of Balzac!” This exclamation caught my attention, and I listened more closely to his muttering. He began devising a speech that would appeal to men, so he could broaden his readership horizon (O’Donnell n.pag.). In this brilliant lecture, Henry would appeal to his readers directly, articulate and defend his own critical values, and create conditions for the appreciation and purchasing of his future work (O’Donnell n.pag.). Yet, this was not the brilliant part. The brilliant part was in his last aha declaration, “The Question of Our Speech!” My master strategically outlined an entire tour of presenting speeches to the American population and saved his most wonderful lesson for last. “The Question of Our Speech” attacked “American civilization by way of American pronunciation” (O’Donnell n.pag.). When I realized this tour was not merely economical, but a criticism of American society and intellect, I became more excited to venture on this journey. Although I did not approve the desire to collect an American fan base since they are unintelligent and lacking in superior culture, I was glad to know it was my own possessor that was going to be the one to attempt to correct their obvious flaws. Finally, someone was going to try and civilize the poor insignificant Americans.
As my ever so wonderful master continued with his gripping speech, I began to think of my hatred toward America. It began when Henry James was born on April 15, 1843, in the disgraceful city of New York(Simon n.pag.). His...

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