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Portrait of the Self

             "Not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted counts", if you believe this, then you will agree with Madame Merle's standpoint in Portrait of a Lady written by Henry James. Madame Merle argues that you should judge a book by its cover and contents, establishing that the outer "shell" is as equally important as the inner shell. While speaking metaphorically and literally, Madame Merle's view has the greater validity for a cluster of reasons involving factual evidence and the bare reason of age and wisdom. .
             As Aesop once said "Outside show is a poor substitute for inner worth", but it's a start. Although the outside isn't always accurate, it's an opening to a person's likes, social class, or even mood. Have you ever taken the time to wonder why people don't walk around in the nude? For starters, how would one be distinguished from another? How would those over glances made in first impressions actually impress anyone? Clothes make the man; naked people have little or no influence on society. There is no way one can "express" their self without physical material. Don't get me wrong, I believe Isabels's point of argument that your feelings, thoughts and ideals are the more relevant way of depicting one another, but on the other hand, how would you begin to do so if there isn't an initial conversation piece, or material object to discuss right off the back? To concur with Madame Merle, a person is rich or poor according to what he is, not according to what he has. This does not mean that the "outer shell" should be completely overlooked though. In one way or another we are all influenced by our society, in turn, this phenomenon amplifies the "self", according to Madame Merle. To comply with Madame Merle's theory, appearance is merely appearance, or the way something looks or seems to be, however, there is a connection between the exterior and interior components.

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