In The Beast In The Jungle, we are introduced to John Marcher, one of the main characters. Immediately afterwards, we meet May Bartram, someone he had met almost ten years prior in Naples, Italy, although he had accidentally thought it to be Rome. The two are getting along splendidly, in a flirtatious way, leaving the reader to wonder about the future of this would-be couple. However, it is then that we find out what eventually kills the hopes of any kind of romantic connection, as May recalls John's special holdup:
You said you had had from your earliest time, as the deepest thing within you, the sense of being kept for something rare and strange, possibly prodigious and terrible, that was sooner or later to happen to you, that you had in your bones the foreboding and the conviction of, and that would perhaps overwhelm you (TBITJ, 338).
Marcher believes that he is fated to experience something but he is not sure what it is that he is waiting for. May probes deeper, possibly revealing something about herself and her desire for a connection, asking, "Isn't what you describe perhaps but the expectation--or at any rate the sense of danger, familiar to so many people--of falling in love?" (TBITJ, 339). He talks about a love that he had but that it was not this monumental thing that she talks of. She replies, saying, "Then it hasn't been love" (TBITJ, 338).
This whole conversation has been one flirtatious period of time. However, it quickly turns back to the topic of his fate, cutting short any additional talk of love, possibly leading somewhere. This was a missed opportunity for the both of them because of his obsession with the mysterious destiny. The discussion ends with her promising to "watch with [him]" (TBITJ, 340). And yet, the reason that she will see him again is not to pursue any sort of normal relationship. It is simply the desire to be there when whatever happens to him oc...
... middle of paper ...
...life has become and what is should have been. He realizes that the beast was actually the person that he met for the second time back in the house in Weatherend at the beginning of the story.
Henry James' works have been known to have a certain autobiographical aspects to them. Looking at his life, one can see that he did not marry either and, just like in Daisy Miller: A Study and most of his other works, the main character's story does not end happily. Throughout the entire time of the story, and more-so his life, John Marcher felt that there was something that he should be waiting for to happen. Something that was spectacular or, instead, brought suffering, he did not have any measure of a clue. Yet he continued to wait for that beast to jump out from the jungle and spark an incident. But what he never understood until the end of the story was that, perhaps, the only beast to be springing forth from the jungle of his life was the pretty swan. Perhaps, the old saying is truly correct, Carpe Diem.
James, Henry. "The Beast in the Jungle." The Norton Anthology: American Literature. Seventh Edition. Vol. C. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2007. 335-376.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Henry James' Daisy Miller and "The Beast in the Jungle" are first and foremost powerful tragedies because they employ such universal themes as crushed ambitions and wasted lives. And the appeal of each does not lie solely in the darkening plot and atmosphere, but in those smallest details James gives us. Omit Daisy's strange little laughs, delete Marcher's "[flinging] himself, face down, on [May's] tomb," and what are we left with. Daisy Miller would be a mere character study against the backdrop of clashing American and Euro- pean cultures and "The Beast in the Jungle," a very detailed inner diary of a completely self-absorbed man who deservingly meets his fate in the end.... [tags: Henry James, Daisy Miller, Beast in the Jungle]
2557 words (7.3 pages)
- Lost and Unseen Love as The Beast in Henry James' The Beast in the Jungle The story of "The Beast in the Jungle" by Henry James has a real message that is pervasive throughout the story, which is that by spending all your time worrying about what will happen in the future you miss what is happening to you now, this being represented in the story by lost love. John Marcher represents what can happen when you spend all your time worrying about what is going to happen to you, as opposed to what is happening to you.... [tags: English Literature]
953 words (2.7 pages)
- Point of View as a Narrative Device in “The Beast in the Jungle” In Henry James’ short story, “The Beast in the Jungle”, the third person narrative is used as a literary device and therefore, the narrator does not play a role in the events of the story. Considering the fact that this is a story about a man’s self-absorption, it is interesting that this form of narration was used; typically, in order to completely capture a narrator’s self-interest first-person would be the narrative choice. Instead, James’ choice of the third person narrative is an advantage with respect to the theme of the story: a life that is not fully realized.... [tags: Short Story, Literary Analysis]
1305 words (3.7 pages)
- The Dismal Washington Square, by Henry James Curiosity about how Washington Square was received at the time it was written lead me to search for a review done at the time the book was published. Expecting that the late nineteenth century reader would have a different view of the work than a late twentieth century reader, it came as a surprise to find that an anonymous review in the February 1881 issue of Spectator related views similar to my own. The reviewer described the book as "dismal," filled with a "leaden-coloured group of emotions," while still conveying a "genius" for "painting character, and genius for conceiving unalloyed dismalness of effect, without tragedy and without comedy"... [tags: Washington Square Henry James]
485 words (1.4 pages)
- Henry James, Principled Realism I read a critical essay by Michael Kearns entitled, "Henry James, Principled Realism, and the Practice of Critical Reading." In it, Kearns invents the terms "principled reality" and "naïve reality" and how to apply these perspectives when reading Washington Square. As Kearns explores these two types of realities, he states that the readers should take a stance of "principled realism" which he defines as follows: "principled realism, like pragmatism, is a method which holds that no objective truths or transcendentally privileged perspective can be found but that we can understand enough about a situation or event to be able to act responsibly towards all pers... [tags: Henry James]
448 words (1.3 pages)
- Henry James' The Art of Fiction In an essay written in response to an essay written by Walter Besant, both titled "The Art of Fiction", Henry James provides both a new understanding of fiction and greater understand of his own works. James analyses, however briefly, the process of creation of a work of fiction, readers' responses to it, and the requirements of the work and the author. James' language within this essay may be in need of some levity, but he does occasionally break through the haze to make a very strong and effective point: "[T]he only condition that I can think of attaching to the composition of a novel is…that it be sincere" (161) There is point in which over-analysis take... [tags: Henry James The Art of Fiction]
649 words (1.9 pages)
- The Turn of the Screw This novel was, surprisingly, interesting. The intensely complex and intricate (if not confusing!) sentences, upon first thought, made me expect an experience of complete, utter, and total confusion; however, they served not only to keep my interest in the novel – for I had to concentrate to grasp the full, rich meaning of his thoughts – but also to create in me a sense of enjoyment, that of being enriched with the experiences of the main character so that my life and that character's became inseparable, only it occurred not only with the main character, but with the entire plot at once – all characters, all scenes (to which I shall come late), all conversations...... [tags: The Turn of the Screw Henry James]
717 words (2 pages)
- I read this book out of interest for another Henry James piece, liking Daisy Miller so much. I found that this book, as in Daisy Miller, has a female point of interest throughout. Isabel Archer is a young American girl brought to Europe after her father has died in America. Isabel is an independent girl, easily noticed by many others in her circle. I felt that Isabel was a woman in her time, in that she took notice of things that she wouldn’t have without certain without the opportunities she was given.... [tags: Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady]
1200 words (3.4 pages)
- Henry James' The Wings of the Dove This paper will present briefly Henry James and his thoughts about the art of fiction that is presented by his same titled essay before thoroughly analyzing his novel: The Wings of the Dove. James’ ideas on his article The Art of Fiction will be applied to The Wings of the Dove and the narrative style that he uses will be indicated by certain quotations taken from the novel. James had read classics of English, American, French, and German literature and Russian classics in translation.... [tags: Henry James Wings Dove Essays]
4840 words (13.8 pages)
- Henry James In August of 1904, after more than two decades abroad, the sixty-year-old Henry James returned to the United States for a year. While William James had famously remarked that his brother was "a native of the James family" (W James 517), with little else in the way of national affiliation, Henry considered himself as American as ever after his twenty years in Europe. The book he wrote about his American journey was titled The American Scene only because James's first choice had been taken; he would have preferred to call it The Return of the Native. But James's sense of himself as a native, as one at home in the United States, was shaken by his alienating experie... [tags: American Scence Henry James Essays]
3090 words (8.8 pages)