Analysis Of The Beast In The Jungle By Henry James

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In “The Beast in the Jungle”, Henry James tells the mostly linear story of James Macher, a character who is convinced a traumatic event will happen to him within his lifetime. Henry James uses the word egotism, a case of extreme narcissism, to describe Marcher; so extreme in fact that Marcher doesn’t realize his own egotism. Despite these deterrents, James still tells a fantastic story of a man who amounted to nothing, with the aid of fate and irony. Fate and irony are interwoven in “The Beast in the Jungle”; working as a pair to tell the tragic story of Marcher and May. Fate and irony reach beyond the pages of “The Beast in the Jungle” into the real world, while simultaneously and intimately entangled in the plot.
Henry James wrote “The
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The credit for Marcher’s appeal partly relies on the point of view of the story. James wrote “The Beast in the Jungle” in third person, and this is not without reason. Third person perspective allows the reader a perspective that Marcher cannot posses, giving the reader an intimate relation with the plot and its characters, while also providing space for the reader to form opinions; opinions on the plot, the ideas, but most importantly, on Marcher. On a larger scale, the style James uses to tell “The Beast in the Jungle” is complex, detailed, and difficult, but again, not without reason. “In reading James, we are constantly aware of the workings of language and of the obliquity of its references. We have to work to puzzle out the meanings of his sentences. It is as if the action of the story takes place in the language itself. We experience complication, hesitation, uncertainty, mystery,” (Goodheart). We the reader are quite literally creating the story in our own minds, solving its puzzles, and living in the complication and mystery. If the action takes place in the language, then the fate of Marcher and May can only continue as the reader continues to decipher the language. James gives the reader the thread of fate in the language and point of view of the story, but it is the reader's job to pull this thread, digging deeper into the plot and pulling fate with
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