THE BEAST IN THE JUNGLE IN THE CONTEXT OF (UN)RECOGNIZING THE OTHER

Abstract

Author(s): Ece SAATIO?LU

Among the best examples of fictional characters suffering from narcissistic personality disorder is Henry James’s John Marcher, who is The Beast in the Jungle. James’s narrative can be read as a novella which depicts how the psychological condition or mental illness called the narcissistic personality disorder can affect the life of an individual and cripple him through disabling from falling in love, loving and being loved in return, losing chances of living life with all its joys since the individual, if lucky enough, painfully realizes how he is haunted by the imagined beast which gradually makes him lose his potency both metaphorically and literally—all demonstrating how impossible it would be to compensate for the losses. This article explores how the identity construction and narcissistic personality disorder of John Marcher, the main character of the novella, are depicted and reflected through his encounters and conflicts with the others, specifically with May Bertram, the other main character. As such, the first two parts of the study is devoted to providing a theoretical background on identity construction, politics of recognition, and narcissistic personality disorder, whereas the latter part is devoted to scrutinizing John Marcher’s situation according to the theoretical framework, and following the plot structure.

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