Success and Tragedy in Henry James' Writing Analytical Essay by Christine

Success and Tragedy in Henry James' Writing
An analysis of protagonists in three of Henry James' novels: "The Beast in The Jungle", "The Jolly Corner", and "The Portrait of a Lady".
# 1050 | 878 words | 4 sources | 2001 | US
Published on Aug 28, 2001 in Literature (American) , English (Analysis) , Literature (Comparative Literature)

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This paper compares and contrasts the tendencies of Henry James in his writings. "The Beast in The Jungle", "The Jolly Corner", and "The Portrait of a Lady" are three of James' works that are examined in detail. In particular, this paper focuses on the protagonists of each of the writings respectively. A strong comparison is made between the three protagonists of these writings, and their miserable lives. On the other hand, the protagonist of James' story "The Tragic Muse" is shown to lead a life of happiness and success. The paper notes the clear differences between this story and the others, therefore explaining what leads the character on a different path.

From the Paper:

"In contrast, Portrait of a Lady presents Ralph as an invalid who lives vicariously through a woman named Isabel Archer whom he leads to doom. He bestows upon her a large sum of money, despite his father's warning that fortune hunters will target her for it. Ralph replies, "That's a risk, and it has entered into my calculation...I'm prepared to take it" (p. 161). Ralph is financially generous to Isabel not out of love but out of a morbid fascination. He wants to see what she will do with it. When Isabel marries a gold-digger, she fulfills the victim role that Ralph's father had feared. Ralph's fascination with Isabel's life overcomes any concern he might have had for her welfare."

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