Lambert Strether serves as the "central consciousness" of the novel, and the events and personalities in the story are filtered through his mind; everything is seen from his point of view. Strether is a man fifty-five years old, of "middle height," with "a thick dark moustache . . . a head of hair still abundant but irregularly streaked with grey, and . . . a perpetual pair of glasses" across his nose. A very idealistic man, he is nevertheless very understanding and sympathetic, and throughout the novel he seems to be struggling with his feelings toward the other characters. The excitement and freedom of Paris make him see his life and situation in a new light. He longs for a life that might have been, but, in the end, when a new existence is offered to him, his nobility and moral judgment force him to honor his private ideals and commitments. Despite the fact that he gives up happiness in Paris for an ambiguous position in America, we leave Strether knowing that this man is far more aware than the person we met in the first chapter.