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A good fiction writer or dramatist will usually introduce a character "in character," that is, doing or saying something characteristic. For example, when Willy Loman is introduced in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, Willy is carrying two heavy sample cases and looks exhausted. In Henry James' Washington Square when Morris Townsend is introduced to Catherine Sloper he immediately displays his characteristic charm:

Mr. Townsend, leaving her no time for embarrassment, began to talk with an easy smile, as if he had known her for a year.

“What a delightful party! What a charming house! What an interesting family! What a pretty girl your cousin is!”

This is the sort of sophistication Townsend went to Europe to acquire. He learned to praise and flatter, and he does this throughout the novel. He learned this trick from the more urbane but not necessarily more honest Europeans and has imported it to America with him. It works pretty well on most Americans, but it does not make a good impression on Catherine's father, who may not be as sophisticated as Townsend but is every bit as intelligent and not susceptible to artificial charm consisting of smiles, flattery, appreciation, attention, and praise. These tricks can be fairly easily learned, but they can provoke resentment and mistrust in a certain percentage of people—especially Americans!

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