1. Mrs. Newsome never actually appears in the novel. What devices does James employ to make her presence and influence felt throughout the narrative?
2. Various critics have seen Strether’s rejection of Maria Gostrey at the end of the novel as a defect in Strether’s character. Attack or defend Strether’s action.
3. When Strether arrives in Europe, he is convinced that his ambassadorial mission is a just one. What incidents and details cause him to reevaluate his initial position?
4. Chad Newsome accuses Strether of having an overly active imagination. Is this an accurate assessment of Strether’s character?
5. How important are characters such as Little Bilham, Miss Barrace, and Mamie Pocock to the development of the novel?
6. Maria Gostrey serves the important function in The Ambassadors as Lambert Strether’s “guide” and “confidante.” How do the conversations between them aid the reader in understanding the novel?