The Beast in the Jungle by Henry James

The Beast in the Jungle book cover
Start Your Free Trial

In Henry James' "The Beast in the Jungle", describe the plot, the mood, and the feeling of the story.

Expert Answers info

brandih eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2003

write520 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Science

The Beast in the Jungle is the story of John Marcher, who believes he is destined for a special fate. This conviction is so profound that instead of delving into life, Marcher chooses to live at life’s fringe, waiting for this special event to occur. When, at the end of his life, Marcher decides that he was mistaken in his conviction, and that nothing of momentous import was in fact to be his destiny, he is left a broken man.

In "The Beast in the Jungle," Henry James attempts to make a formidable dramatic action out of what he calls in one of his most interesting prefaces "a great negative adventure." The point of the story is the pointlessness of John Marcher’s subordination of reality to his belief that a unique and possibly terrible destiny awaits him.

Further Reading:
check Approved by eNotes Editorial

revolution | Student

The fable, "the Beast in the Jungle", is a parable of John Marcher's life, the main protagonist of the entire story, who believes that he has a peculiar and a special destiny with him and wait for that special moment, even if he is suffering from disasters and problems, at wits end.

But at the end, that "special moment" was just speculative and wasn't grounded by basic facts and truths and fizzled to oblivion and nothing of greatest significance had happen or change his life in any apparent moment and that change, that transformation of his life was nothing but false hopes and dreams clouding his confused brain and only a whisker of fantasy, nothing grandeur about it. For this brief moment of crushed desires, he had become bewildered and emotionally shattered from within, with no one to support.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Unlock This Answer Now