The Ambassadors

Inciting Event: Struther arrives in Paris to find the irresponsible Chad and bring him home to America, at his mother’s bidding, to marry and take over the family business—before he can be “ruined” by a loose-moraled French woman. The first eighth of the book prior to this has been all set-up, as the minor characters of Miss Gostrey and Struther’s friend Waymarsh are introduced back in England.

First Plot Point: Chad returns to Paris, where Struther is waiting for him, and Struther is shocked to discover that instead of being “ruined,” Chad appears to be a much improved person. This plot point is a subtle one, but it still effectively destroys the Normal World of the First Act in which Struther was completely enslaved to the viewpoints of Chad’s mother. Discovering her presuppositions to be so incorrect rocks his world and sets up off his series of reactions in the First Half of the Second Act

First Pinch Point: Struther is finally introduced to the woman who is keeping Chad in Paris—the married Madame de Vionnet and her daughter Jeanne. The First Pinch Point is all bring forward new clues about the antagonistic force. Madame de Vionnet is hardly a villain, but she is the antagonistic force at this point, since she is what is preventing Struther’s goal of returning Chad to his mother. Her introduction here brings a flurry of new clues about herself, her motives, and her relationship with Chad.

Midpoint: After surrendering to the belief that Chad’s relationship with Madame de Vionnet is platonic and has, in fact, been a positive influence upon Chad, Struther receives a cable from Chad’s mother, demanding his return to America. He refuses and convinces Chad to remain as well. The Moment of Truth comes with Struther’s realization that Madame de Vionnet isn’t such a bad woman after all. He then acts on that new truth at the Midpoint in a way that completely shifts the focus of the story and moves him from a reactive role to an active one.

Second Pinch Point: Chad’s sister and brother-in-law arrive in Paris with the girl they want Chad to marry. Struther’s goal has changed, so that now Chad’s mother (and her proxies) become the primary antagonists. Their arrival in Paris is a definite flexing of their power against Struther and Chad.

Third Plot Point: Struther refuses to capitulate to Chad’s sister when she demands he speak poorly of Madame de Vionnet. He breaks with her—and thus with Chad’s mother (who he had previously hoped to marry). This is a complete rupture with Struther’s former life. He feels a sense of relief in it, but it is still a low point, since he has, in essence, destroyed his home and killed almost all of his familiar relationships.

Climax: Struther witnesses Chad and Madame de Vionnet together in the country, and he realizes they lied about their relationship being platonic. This is a fabulous reversal. All through the story, Struther has been surrendering his own beliefs in the face of Madame de Vionnet’s presumed virtue. Now everything he had come to believe over the course of the story is threatened.

Climactic Moment: After meeting with Chad, Struther tells him not to give up Madame de Vionnet.

Resolution: Struther leaves Paris—and a potential relationship with Miss Gostrey—and returns home. He has not gained any of his story goals, but he is content in the fact that he is now a completely changed man, with broadened views, who is no longer under the thumb of Chad’s mother.

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