Blog Post #5

In James “The Ambassadors” we are introduced to a story through the perspective of Strether.  Strether is a man who has not quite lived up to his potential and is seeking Waymarsh in Europe.  I feel that these two men represent a connection that James saw in Holbein’s painting “The Ambassadors.”  I get the impression that Strether is the less glamorously dressed one while Waymarsh is draped in the finest.  Strether to me represents the poorer of the men for a deeper reason than his economic predicament.  He represents the poorer of the men because he is underachieved, untapped, and unfaithful to his potential.  However to the delight of James there is no clear connection from the painting to the story.  One does not reveal the other.  The picture serves as an emblem rather than a reflection. I also notice the globes in the painting which represent the voyage from America to Europe.  The one thing in the painting that is eerily striking is the skull that lurks below the men representing “anamorphosis.”  I find it intriguing how the skull can only be viewed from a certain angle to reveal itself.  Otherwise it looks like an inanimate object of some sort.  However the skull represents death.  Death is inevitable.  Strether comes to the conclusion that you must live your life to the fullest while you can.  In the end death will claim us all.

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