What passage in the second part of Henry James's The Beast in the Jungle illustrates Freud's theory of the Uncanny? This is for a graduate school class.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The Beast in the Jungle by Henry James is often used to illustrate Freud's notion of the Uncanny because both the central element of the plot and the narrative voice have Uncanny elements. The essence of the Uncanny is the way it blends the most familiar with the most strange,...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

The Beast in the Jungle by Henry James is often used to illustrate Freud's notion of the Uncanny because both the central element of the plot and the narrative voice have Uncanny elements. The essence of the Uncanny is the way it blends the most familiar with the most strange, creating simultaneous attraction and repulsion in the observer. The Uncanny by its nature is always hidden from public view, and perceived indirectly, remaining in essence mysterious and disturbing.

John Marcher and May Bartram as described in the first three paragraphs of the second chapter both exist within the realm of the Uncanny. While their public surfaces appear perfectly normal most of the time, the Uncanny, in the form of Marcher's "Beast" and Bartram's perceptions, surface at odd intervals, disrupting the sense of normalcy. They are at the same time familiar and alien, attractive and repulsive. Even the narrative voice, which is constantly modifying itself by piling on nuance after nuance, constantly modifying and reflecting on its own perceptions, and observing both the world and itself from an almost alien perspective, increases the sense of the Uncanny intertwining of strange and familiar. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team