Americanism and Universality
In writing a realistic novel, Howells shows us a true picture of the American-good and evil, benevolent and prideful, foolish and wise, strong and weak. His story has a message to all American men who are still tempted by the pressure of their way of life to lie, cheat, steal, bluff, maneuver, conceal, and evade men who still desire to exalt themselves by crushing others for money, power, and prestige, instead of living for the good of others.
Also American women can learn from Howells' parable until they are free from the fantasies of emotional agony, heroically surmounted by overwhelming self-sacrifice. When Americans take a more realistic look at life and live by it, Howells' story will be outdated.