In this short novella, James examines the relationship of a man who believes that he is slated by fate for some horrible disastrous thing to happen to him (he calls it the "beast crouching in the jungle" and waiting for him) and the woman who quite transparently loves him. He never even thinks of her in terms of love since his entire mental focus is on his "fate" and being able to recognize it when it arrives. The story follows their entire lives until she dies finally, of age and illness and he goes to the funeral. It is when he is alone, standing at the grave, that it hits him: he loved her, a great deal, but never saw it and now she is beyond his reach. As he collapses in sorrow on the grave, you can see the beast in the jungle, leaping for him. He fulfilled his own prediction by allowing his obsession with his fate to create his lost love - his "beast in the jungle."
This report prepared by Kelly Whiting