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the wings of the doveCould anyone kindly offer some suggestion on the appreciation of...

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superlasia | Student | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted September 24, 2011 at 1:31 PM via web

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the wings of the dove

Could anyone kindly offer some suggestion on the appreciation of Henry James's The Wings of the Dove?

Usually we start to analyze a work by giving the synopsis or by presenting a piece of the movie.

Any new ideas?

Also, relevant imformation about the novel is welcome!!!

Thank you all !

3 Answers | Add Yours

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted September 24, 2011 at 3:48 PM (Answer #2)

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As a start for your analysis quest, the story is a psychological study of three people, with a touch of spiritualism thrown in. Milly is an innocent American girl who falls in love with an English man, Densher, then finds him again in London. He, however, is secretly engaged to an English woman, named Kate. Kate is greedy and manipulative. She devises a plan to trick Milly out of her wealth and Densher reluctantly agrees. In the end, Milly dies; Densher rejects the inheritance she bequeaths him; he and Kate part, with her final remark ringing in his ears: "We shall never be again as we were!"

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 25, 2011 at 10:09 PM (Answer #3)

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To continue the development of this story as begun in #2, let us remember that Kate is a woman who refuses to make her engagement common knowledge because Densher occupies a lower class than herself and she is not willing to leave her own higher class. Her scheme is therefore a method of allowing Densher to gain wealth so that she can marry him with impunity. As such, one of the themes of the story is about love and the depth of the love that we have for people. Densher very interestingly realises that love that is conditional, as Kate's love for him is, cannot actually be considered love.

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vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 26, 2011 at 3:36 PM (Answer #4)

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I'll toss in a pitch for work by a student of mine, Deborah Cosier Solomon, who analyzes passages from this work in great detail in a newly published two-volume work titled The American Novel: Understanding Literature through Close Reading. Here's a link:


Deborah is an exceptionally talented student, and her understanding and appreciation of James (on whom she did her master's thesis) is superb.

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