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MonkeyNotes Study Guide/Summary-The Beast in the Jungle by Henry James
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CONFLICT

Protagonist

The protagonists of this novella are May Bertram and John Marcher. May lives with her great-aunt at Weatherend in the beginning of the novella. As the novella progresses, the reader finds that May and Marcher often meet. May has a better insight into Marcherís thoughts than Marcher himself. She has lot of affection and concern for Marcher. Unfortunately she falls ill and dies.

John Marcher too is a protagonist of this novella. He feels that he has been chosen for some strange happening and therefore lives in this apprehension. He is thus unable to achieve anything in life. He considers himself to be different from other people. Metaphorically speaking he is a beast in the social jungle in which he does not really fit.


Antagonist

The antagonist in this novella is Marcherís confused self, his apprehension, and his hallucination. Fate too plays an antagonistic role when his apprehension fructifies into reality by Mayís death. He thereby loses his one and only dear friend and becomes very insecure.

Climax

The Climax occurs in chapter 5 when May dies. Before dying, she broadly hints to Marcher that, what he has been waiting for has already happened. Marcher however is unable to understand what she means by these words. Marcherís apprehensions seem to come true with Mayís death. He is now helpless and all alone.

Outcome

The outcome is a tragedy. Marcher realizes that he has never loved May, as he should have. She had extended her love and care to him, but he did not respond to her in an appropriate manner. He realizes that she is a part of his consciousness. He imagines a jungle and a beast that is ready to jump. He turns and falls on Mayís grave, with his face down. It is as though he is still sub-consciously seeking support from her.

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