James Harris can be repeatedly seen in different writings of Shirley Jackson. Whenever he appears in the story, he seems to signify instability. This can also be seen in The Daemon Lover. James Harris is the Daemon Lover. He appears in the different stories as himself, as a pigment of another character’s imagination or fantasy, or just someone who is mentioned as one of the characters…
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He is a real person, a real character, with physical appearance and an attachment to the protagonists in the story. His moniker as the Daemon Lover is somewhat sinister and foreboding. His nickname emphasizes his character as ominous and disturbing, characteristics of the thoughts of someone with mental illness. We create our own realities and fantasies. There are some things that we believe in that other people don’t. But there is a significant difference between the one who accepts fantasies as fantasies and the one who accepts fantasies as their realities. At the start of the story, the narrator, who was a woman in her 30s, was excitedly preparing for her wedding. Being wed to someone we love is a usual fantasy for a lot of women. The question is if it is real or not. In the case of the narrator, it was too real for her. She was fitting her clothes and was thinking about getting breakfast. It was real for her and it was real for the reader. At the beginning, there was no questioning that the narrator was sane and quite capable of defining what was real and what was not. She did not look insane. There was nothing insane about her actions. But towards the middle and the end of the story, it was slowly revealed how the woman might have been insane from the beginning. Searching throughout the town for her fiance, James Harris, she encountered different people who had different responses whenever she asked them if they had seen her fiance. There were three kinds of responses that were presented in the story. These responses were significant in understanding whether James Harris was real or not and if the narrator was in fact crazy or not. The first response was stating bluntly that James Harris was not real. This was not accepted by the narrator, of course, because James Harris was her reality. The superintendent of the apartment and his wife, and the Roysters (a couple living in the apartment) frankly declared that she “got the wrong house” since there was no James Harris living in that building. The second response was a mockery of the narrator’s situation. The newsstand man and the man behind the narrator conspired and dropped hints that they saw someone who looked like James Harris going uptown. The last response was a complete verification of James Harris’ whereabouts but the characters speaking of his existence were both unreliable. One was an old senile man and the other was a very young kid. Both had troubles with memory and the delineation between fantasy and reality because of the age. These three responses gave emphasis on the delusions that the narrator was experiencing. The responses clearly indicated that James Harris was not real. The very first evidence that helps us realize that James Harris is not real comes in the first part of the story. While the narrator was waiting for her fiance, she “tried to think of James and could not see his face clearly, or hear his voice” (Jackson, 2009). This was justified when she said that “it’s always that way with someone you love” (Jackson, 2009). But we know that it’s not possible to forget the face or voice of someone we love. The responses of the different people that she met while looking for James Harris emphasized once again that he was not real. There was no label for James Harris’
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(“Literary Analysis Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 750 words”, n.d.)
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(Literary Analysis Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 750 Words)
“Literary Analysis Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 750 Words”, n.d. https://studentshare.org/literature/1396103-literary-analysis.
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