Lambert Strether, a middle-aged American is sent to England as an ambassador for Mrs. Newsome, his fiancée, for him to find her son Chad and bring him back home. Mrs. Newsome wants his son to leave the carefree life in Europe because she and the family think he is living an immoral life (James 52). They want chad to return to Woollett Massachusetts to help run the family business. At the start of the journey, Strether thinks that his representative mission is clear, although t later turns out to be very uncertain. He meets Maria Go trey, a woman who guides him around Paris.
When Strether meets Chad, he finds him so cool, which makes the former question his life decision, thinking he let life pass him while living in America. Strether succumbs to the Paris lifestyle, which he enjoys and finds endless excuses to help him delay his visit (James 52). Strether thinks Chad has an affair with Marie de Vionnet, a woman he thinks Chad has a sexual relationship with. Strether also thinks Chad is attracted to Marie’s daughter, although after investigating, he finds no evidence. Finally, Mrs. Newsome’s get intolerant and asks her daughter to go find the two. Chad agrees to go back home, but Strether refuses. Sarah tells him either to go with her back to the US or never join the family. Strether prefers to be left behind, and face the repercussions of breaking his engagement. Later, he confirms that Chad has romantic relationships with Marie, which makes him realize deception and sex are amongst the reason why he enjoyed Paris life. He has to leave for the US after trying to convince Maria Gostrey to stay with him to no avail. Notably, he has been lying to himself about the pleasures in Europe.