Beast In The Jungle Themes

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Over the course of the semester, we have come across many different themes that bring up major topics for discussion. After reading, “The Beast in the Jungle” by Henry James, the keyword that came to my mind was “real”. We have covered different pieces of literature that really represent the theme of realism. According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of realism is the qualities of being very much like real life and it is a style of art or literature that shows or describes people and things as they are in real life. This story would be a perfect addition to future English 224 classes because of its themes and just simply the story itself. Many students, especially college students, can relate to it because I know I can. “The Beast in…show more content…
I think “A Streetcar Named Desire” is the closest text that we have read that talks about the idea of love and possibly fate because in that story, the characters got what they ultimately deserved. In Scene 4 of Streetcar, Stella and Blanche are in conversation about sexual desire. The streetcar is envisioned during this scene with the car rolling to its ultimate destination, which describes desire but which to me, this image describes fate as well. This would be Blanches’ ultimate fate, the fate of sexual desire. Sexual desire really carried this play just as it carried Blanche to her fate. Like I said before the symbol of fate is shown in “The Beast in the Jungle” and these two texts would be a good comparison with the sense of love, the final destination of fate and the idea of death and, in a sense, loneliness can go along with “A Streetcar Named Desire”. In “The Beast in the Jungle,” one quote that I find describes fate is this line, “It isn 't a matter as to which I can choose, I can decide for a change. It isn 't one as to which there can be a change. It 's in the lap of the gods. One 's in the hands of one 's law—there one is” (488). With the death of May, this actually brings John to a final realization. He chooses to visit May’s tombstone but only because he has a…show more content…
I really do feel that with the many different themes that “The Beast in the Jungle” suggests, I think that this is a good addition to this English syllabus particularly because each reading is associated with a specific theme and the stories that we have read all fall under that specific theme. I think this story can also help better bring out the understanding of realism. This quote shows the moment when he comes to understand reality, “This face, one grey afternoon, when the leaves were thick in the alleys, looked into Marcher’s own, at the cemetery, with an expression like the cut of a blade” (504). He finally realized while walking passed a man suffering that he made a mistake to not give May what she deserved while she was living. He came to his final conclusion in this quote that “the beast” was his failure to give May that love. Henry James ends his stories in a similar way by never letting the main character have that perfect ending simply because life never has that fairy tail
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