Presentation on theme: "Psychological Realism in “The Pupil” by"— Presentation transcript:
1Psychological Realism in “The Pupil” by Henry James
2What is “real” about “The Pupil”? No omniscient narratorNo virtuous “hero”No outstanding external eventNo closure
3No omniscient narrator An omniscient narrator tells the story, knowing and explaining the interior motives of each character.This sort of narrator can “read the characters' minds” and explain their actions.In real life there is no one there to read the minds of the people we meet. We just wonder what they are thinking.
4No Omniscient Narrator In “The Pupil” we know much of what goes on in Pemberton's mind, but not even all of that.Even he does not understand his own motives (like how attached he is to Morgan and the Moreens).Further, neither Pemberton, nor Morgan, nor the reader completely knows what the Moreens are up to. What do they live on, for example?
5No Virtuous “Hero” The Parents are irresponsible and false; abandon their children;may be the cause of Morgan's deathPembertonweakly gets too attached to Morgan;inspires false hope of “running off” with Morgan;may be the cause of Morgan's death.
6Although it is tempting to blame just the parents for Morgan's death, perhaps Pemberton contributed to it. Do you think so? Did he build false hopes in Morgan? Could the story have gone any other way, any other “healthier” way?
7No Outstanding External Event The “event” that occurs isthe bankruptcy of the Moreen familyand their request that Pemberton take Morgan away with him.It is catastrophic for Morgan, but it is not exceptional because their failure is expected.Further, it is not “outstanding”as a war or natural disaster would be,but is on a personal, human scale.
8No Closure It is not entirely clear what causes Morgan's heart to fail Was it (unlikely) the hurried walk home?Was it happy excitement at his dream of fleeing with Pemberton coming true?Was it fear that his dream would come true (and fear of permanent attachment; see intro to story)?Was it heartbreak that his parents would give him up?
9No Closure It is not entirely clear how we should read the characters Did Mrs. Moreen ultimately love her son? (She does finally embrace him.)Did Pemberton lead Morgan to believe he was more devoted than he was? (Was he really happy to take Morgan away?)Was Mr. Moreen evil? (He says Morgan would not want to go. We also don't know what he was really doing through the story.)
10Psychological Realism More than action, James focuses on the interior world of the characters. Much of the “action” of “The Pupil” is found inThe discussions between Morgan and PembertonThe discussions between Mrs. Moreen and PembertonThe discussion OF what Pemberton thinks about those discussions
11Assignment for JamesFor your Post on “The Pupil” reflect briefly on how the story is an example of psychological realism. Be sure to give examples from the story of how James pushes us to enter into the minds of the characters, rather than get carried away by spectacular events.Also, PART 2, please post one response to a classmate's post on James.DUE: Sunday, June 13 at midnight