The Ambassadors

by: Henry James

Book Seventh

Summary Book Seventh

Finally, both chapters have a peculiar relationship to the interior and exterior worlds. Neither opening chapter focuses on exteriors. Similarly, neither opening gives much description relating to the time, setting, or space. Nevertheless, both chapters take place in specific places: the first occurs in the garden of a hotel in Chester, England. We do not know the name of the hotel, but we do know that the town exits in real life. The lack of physical description frees readers to focus on the development of the characters, as portrayed by the interaction between Strether and Miss Gostrey. In contrast, Book Seventh begins in Notre Dame, a famous cathedral in Paris. Many readers both past and present would have some familiarity with the cathedral—and would thus be able to situate the fictional characters into a real place. Although both chapters document Strether’s perceptions and foreground how these perceptions shall change, the opulent setting of Book Seventh indicates the greater significance of the changes to come.