looking for the double consciousness within James’ “The Pupil”

How does a joyous individual like Morgan suddenly die at the end of the story? Did I miss something? After our last class discussion on James’ concern with the double consciousness, and the need for a reader to pay attention to the not so obvious gestures and sudle impressions between characters within a story, I attempted this theory as I read “The Pupil,” and I believe I was successful. I found a quote on page 141 which I think is talking towards James theory.

 “The boy noticed in an instant that he had turned red, where upon a longish glance in which there was a consciousness of many more things that are usually touched upon, even tacitly, in such a relation.”

The word: consciousness is bold because there seems to be some form of understanding that exists between Morgan and Pemberton that the reader has no ability to participate in. The exchange of the glance seems to stating an understanding that doesn’t necessary have to be vocalized. Whether there is an actual understanding between these characters remains unconfirmed by the text, and what is being understood is questionable.

Another area of the story where I feel the double consciousness is apparent is on page 146. “It was singular how Pemberton guessed that Morgan, though saying nothing about it, knew something had happened.”

How did Pemberton feel something had happened? What gestures overtime, became apparent to Pemberton that some problem was within the air? Even though the reader (from their own life experiences) maybe aware of how to feel “tension in the air” without anyone noting a problem—what are the steps involved in the process of consciousness? How did it become automatic for Pemberton to feel that something had to be wrong?

Prior to discussing the theory of double consciousness, I would have never been concern with paying attention to these not so obvious gestures that have become automatic for everyone. I just concern about the ending…I do not recall feeling as if Morgan was ill…so how did he die?

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2 Responses to looking for the double consciousness within James’ “The Pupil”

  1. Dominique Zino says:

    Josephine, you’re right, Morgan’s death is sudden–he collapses of a heart attack (try re-reading the last few pages–what news brings on his death?).


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