Roderick Hudson, who lives with his widowed mother in Northampton, Massachusetts. He is studying in a law office, reluctantly and ineptly. He is not stupid, but he dislikes the law and has artistic aspirations; in his spare time, he produces some promising sculpture, but he has no hope of becoming an artist. He meets Rowland Mallet, a rich young man who admires Hudson’s work and offers to help him financially. Mallet takes Hudson to Rome to work as a sculptor. Hudson proves to be a very good artist with the possibility of a major career. He is confident of his gift, but he can be erratic, arrogant, and, more seriously, occasionally tempted by expensive pleasures. Mallet is willing to help Hudson with his financial difficulties, but he finds it more difficult to keep Hudson focused on his work. Hudson becomes fascinated with Christina Light, a beautiful American girl who seems to encourage him. Her mother, however, has plans to marry her into the moneyed classes of Europe. Hudson, a vain man, thinks that Christina will renounce everything for him. His failure to win her eventually destroys him.
Rowland Mallet, a rich young New Englander. He is intelligent, handsome, and generous, but lacking in ambition and talent. He decides to live in Rome, perhaps permanently. Before he leaves America, he meets Roderick Hudson and sees a chance to put his fortune to good use, supporting the artist. While getting to know Hudson, however, he falls in love with Hudson’s cousin, Mary Garland. He keeps his feelings to himself, but he has hopes for the future. On the voyage to Europe, Hudson informs Mallet that shortly before they left, he became engaged to Mary. Mallet, always the gentleman, decides to repress his feelings for Mary. He is an excellent friend...
(The entire section is 745 words.)