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Henry James's novel The Portrait of a Lady

            ""When you've lived as long as I you"ll see that every human being has his shell and that you must take the shell into account"" (ln.1-2).
             This first line of this excerpt, from Henry James's novel The Portrait of a Lady, accurately depicts the most valid point in the essay. Madame Merle believes that the metaphysical aspect of one's life reflects their character. Madame Merle uses the example of how one presents themselves through the garments they wear, the environment they live in, and the possessions they keep.
             Madame Merle's counterpart, Isabel Archer, believe she feels differently, denying her ability to express herself, in her possessions. Stating that she ""think(s) the other way,"" Isabel attempts to refute Madame Merle's credence, but actually she is supporting Madame Merle's conviction more than she believes. .
             Isabel attempts to explain, how her personality is not reflected by what she owns, but, in actuality, she seems as though, her individuality is to be a nonconformist. Unlike the norm, Isabel, doesn't care what clothes she is wearing, and does not purposefully establish her environment, as a reflection of herself. But, in effect, she successfully places her personality in everything that she does.
             Supporting Madame Merle's thoughts, my life is very much expressed in the way I dress, and the possessions I own. If some one were to walk in my room, then would be able to find out, almost everything about me. A soccer ball on the floor, some high tech computers, art supplies, back pack, sheets of music, audio devices The list could go on for over a page.
             But, like my personality, my room is layered. As one might begin to understand the layout of my room, one might notice, my bed being made, and the carefully arranged displays. These begin to express my internal feelings, of a need for balance, and perfection. My bed is faced toward the door, which is usually open, expressing my aspiration to succeed, and move on, but also to welcome others into my life.

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