The Beast in the Jungle Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Beast in the Jungle

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."
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The review of this Book prepared by Kelly Whiting

Chapter Analysis of The Beast in the Jungle

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Plot & Themes

Time/era of story    -   1900-1920's Difficult/unusual lover?    -   Yes How difficult?    -   mentally ill person Inner struggle subplot    -   Yes Struggle with...    -   (general) search for identity/new understanding

Main Male Character

Profession/status:    -   scholar Age/status:    -   long lived adults Unusual characteristics?    -   Very naive/shy - Doesn't know where to put weiner

Main Female Character

Age/status:    -   long-lived adults Profession/status:    -   journalist Unusual characteristics:    -   Very shy


Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   England/UK    -   France City?    -   Yes City:    -   London Misc setting    -   resort/hotel

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment What % of story is romance related?    -   50% Focus of story    -   Him How much dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript

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Henry James Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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