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Controlling Destiny In America a citizen expects a storybook life A life which has a controlled destiny is ideal The American dream is based on making enough money to own a house and finding a mate Money becomes the main part of the dream and is expected to make the dream become a reality Europe however is quite different Europe is not about capitalism it is about the family one belongs to and how much money that family is worth Life is controlled and destiny is easily predictable Naturally the two cultures collide In The American by Henry James the lead character Christopher Newman feels that he can travel to Europe find the girl of his dreams and marry without a problem Unfortunately one family has a problem with his goals The Bellegardes are the supreme example of old money and a dynasty that is not going to allow new money into it no matter how hard Newman tries A person cannot control his own destiny and he has to find a compromise between his freewill and destiny in order to accept his future The novel shows this through Christopher Newman throughout the entire story In the beginning of the novel Christopher Newman thinks that the world is in his hands and that with his money he is there to enjoy it He goes to Europe thinking that Europe will welcome and admire his wealth and he is not set astray by the rich culture and heritage of Europe James introduces the novel with a description of Newman walking through the infamous Louvre in Paris It was a typical vagueness which is not vacuity that blankness which is not simplicity that look of being committed to nothing in particular of standing in an attitude of general hospitality to the chances characteristic of many American faces James 20 Newman represents the typical American and turns his back on all material things so that he is enriched
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