Study Guide

The American Betrayal

By Henry James


You might as well stick the knife in and twist it. Newman's totally heartbroken when the Bellegarde family backstabs him in a big way. But should he be surprised? After all, it's not like Newman was exactly buddy-buddy with the Bellegarde clan.

See, Newman's a trusting kind of guy. He doesn't much care when Claire delays their marriage, but he likes to be dealt with as a businessman. In other words, Newman expects that when folks make a deal with him, they hold up their end of the bargain. Unfortunately, Newman gets a rude shock when he realizes that the world doesn't always play fair.

Questions About Betrayal

  1. What does Newman perceive as the biggest betrayal?
  2. Does Claire feel bad about betraying Newman?
  3. How does Valentin counteract his family's betrayal?

Chew on This

By the end of the book, Newman is much more careful about guarding his tender heart.

Betrayal is a completely natural part of life for the Bellegarde family. They don't have any qualms about backstabbing Newman.

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