The Europeans


By Henry James

cover image of The Europeans

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Henry James's The Europeans is about the encounter of two young siblings from Europe with members of their family who are born and raised in America. It mainly highlights the differences in behavior, cultures and attitudes between the Old World and the New World. Most of the story takes place in a rural area around Boston where the two protagonists, Eugenia and Felix, are to spend many days with their cousins, Charlotte and Gertrude, and their visiting friends. James particularly puts emphasis on the manners of the puritanical American family and the way they are perceived by the two Europeans. While Felix enjoys the company and is fascinated by the authoritarian father Mr. Wentworth, Eugenia is often bored and finds that the family's two daughters are too superficial and submissive. Felix soon falls in love with Gertrude and eventually proposes to her. Eugenia is also attracted to the family's friend Robert Acton and promises to marry him once she finalizes her divorce procedures. By the end of the narrative, Felix marries Gertrude, but Eugenia decides to abandon Robert and goes back to Europe.

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The Europeans