May Bartram's behavioral change in Henry James's "The Beast in the Jungle"

Essay by steve111783College, UndergraduateA, March 2004

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Henry James's short story "The Beast in the Jungle"

illustrates the changeable behavior of May Bartram. May

Bartram shows her wide range of emotions towards John

Marcher, the story's main character, who is deeply and

increasingly in love with her. From her slightest interest

in him, to her disinterest in him, then to her deepest

confessions of love for him, May Bartram shows how her

behavior of such can change from chapter to chapter.

In chapter one of the story, May Bartram and John

Marcher meet for the first time at the Weatherend, a

mansion where guests commonly stay and socialize. Here,

May Bartram displays her first sight of interest in John:

Yet when she finally drifted toward him, it might

have been as an effect of her guessing that he

had, within the couple of hours, devoted more

imagination to her than all the others put

together (542).

May Bartram shows her slight interest in John. She started

to "drift" towards him when she noticed that he has paid

more attention to her than all the other guests that were

there in Weatherend. She continues on the same behavior in

the next chapter.

In chapter two, we find out that Miss Bartram

thinks that John is a harmless maniac when the author says:

He had a screw loose for her, but she liked him in

spite of it and was practically against the world


Having a "screw loose" may suggest that he is a maniac.

Even though the whole world may also think so, she still

likes him in spite of it. This clearly shows that Miss

Bartram's behavior towards John is changing because she no

longer is just interested in him, she actually likes him.

In the next chapter, we find out that May...