The Beast in the Jungle Essay

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In the following excerpt, Bell looks at "The Beast in the Jungle" as a "dark fable" and examines its treatment of passivity and fate.

"The Beast in the Jungle" may be James's most extreme expression of the theme of human character as potentiality which cannot or will not move out into the world of action, of plot. Published in 1903, the same year as The Ambassadors, it bears, as will be seen, a certain relation to that novel, which arises, in a much more complicated way, from the idea of the failure to "live." But the short story is a dark fable, more abstract and pessimistic than the novel. Marcher (whose name differs from hers only by an initial letter) is the farthest James would ever go in illustrating the consequences of Isabel Archer's cult of Being; but where she is heroic in resisting the reductive expectations of others...

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This section contains 1,919 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Beast in the Jungle Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
The Beast in the Jungle from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.