The American Book Summary

The American
Main Characters
Telling the Truth and Keeping Secrets
It is spring 1868 when prosperous, good-looking American Christopher Newman arrives in Paris. His search for love is thwarted by his own blunt honesty and secrets kept by others. Facing the deep cultural divide between Europe and America proves to be more tragic than romantic as the "new man" confronts old class systems.
Freedom vs. Obligation
The tension between a person's individual freedom and his or her duty to family cannot be always reconciled
Old vs. New World
The "new man" from America goes to Europe to rediscover its value to beauty and romance.
Christopher is an outsider in Paris, and his openness and lack of guile are out of place, causing a divide difficult to cross.
Count Valentin
Likable French aristocrat and Christopher's friend; dies after a duel
Claire de Cintre
Young French widow and Christopher's unrequited love; becomes a nun
Noemie Nioche
Charming young Parisian
Mrs. Bread
Servant; reveals a dark secret