Study Guide

The American Tough-o-Meter

By Henry James

Tough-o-Meter

(5) Tree Line

The American could be a great beach read—at least, the first half.

Just when we're settling into a delightful comedy of manners, James turns the screw (so to speak). We're committed to no spoilers, but some dark and complex themes pop up as the plot progresses.

Although the language stays light and easy, the ideas—revenge, murder, taking the veil—are on the heavy side.

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