The Pupil Henry James Analysis

753 Words4 Pages
Society often sets roles and expects for everyone to conform to the common mold. Therefore, in “The Pupil” when one of characters does not fit the mold that is expected for society, he is presented as weak and inferior. In the passage from “The Pupil” Henry James uses an ironic tone, and a third person limited point of view in order to present the complexities in the relationships among the three characters to set a hierarchy among the characters. James establishes a tense tone as the young man is afraid of Mrs. Moreen and what could potentially happen in his future job. James uses words like “hesitated”, “timid”, and “nervousness” to describe the young man as inferior to Mrs. Moreen. This not only creates tension as he is afraid, but also…show more content…
The young man describes Mrs. Moreen as a woman that “spoke only of feelings and, as it were, of the aristocracy.” This indicates that he believes that Mrs. Moreen believes that she is superior to him as she focuses on aristocracy and the hierarchy of the society. He is very conscious of this perception and this contributes to his issues of being insecure and nervous about approaching the subject of his salary. In addition, the third person limited point of view shows the young man’s paranoia surrounding the teaching of the student as he is worried that the student will “prove cleverer than himself.” This adds to the degrading and ironic tone as it shows that not only is the narrating mocking him, but there is reason for it as he himself is doubtful of himself. He does not fit the typical mold of man in the late 1800s as he is supposed to in an authoritative position, but does not show confidence or assertiveness at all. In addition, to mocking his role as inferior position, there is the element of his profession. He is being mocked as a teacher which in the time period most men were not teachers as that was not perceived as a very important job that was to be done by men. As a result, the mockery of the young man is only reinforced as he is an inferior teacher that is at
Open Document