The Beast In The Jungle
??The Beast in the Jungle?? is divided into six sections, each part designated by a roman numeral (I-VI). In the first section, James introduces the protagonist of the story, John Marcher. Marcher is at a manor house in the English countryside where he sees a woman whose face and manner stir his memory, although he is unable to recollect the circumstances of their acquaintance. Before he leaves, Marcher finds himself at close quarters with the woman. The moment she speaks to him he remembers where they met?in Italy where both were vacationing ten years previously. During this short renewal of their acquaintance, she reminds him that he had imparted to her a grave secret in Italy: he had told her that it was his conviction that he was destined to experience a monumental and devastating event, which in only later discovered.
??The Beast in the Jungle?? is a story about a man who believes in fate, most particularly his own: ??It isn?t a matter as to which I can choose, I can decide for a change. It isn?t one as to which there can be a change. It?s in the lap of the gods. One?s in the hands of one?s law?there one is.?? Arguably, due to Marcher?s fate turning out to be the opposite of what he expects, James could be said to be mocking the pretensions of his protagonist. Is his conviction about the ??specialness?? of his fate the flaw of an egotist? Or, is he a tragic figure who invents a grand fate due to his passion for a life which his circumstances cannot avail him?