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In The Cage


In The Cage


“She did last things or pretended to do them; to be in the cage had suddenly become her safety, and she was literally afraid of the alternate self who might be waiting outside. He might be waiting; it was he who was her alternate self, and of him she was afraid.”

In the Cage is considered by critics to be one of Henry James's most memorable achievements, and one of the finest novellas in the English language.

First published in 1898, In the Cage brought American novelist Henry James (1843–1916), further international success.

James makes striking commentaries on technology, communication, miscommunication, romantic signals and romantic fantasies.

James weaves the “caged girl” in the telegraph office into broader themes of conflicted class identity and romantic desire: her workplace is effectively described as a cage, a metaphor for the utterly circumscribed nature of her life.

In this sense, the text is an examination of the average life amidst a backdrop of cloistered desperation.

Ultimately, (tragically) the “caged girl” embraces a faux contentment through disillusionment.

This perceptively drawn human drama is an enduring literary triumph.

HENRY JAMES (1843-1916) was an American novelist, playwright, biographer and critic. He is considered one of the finest writers of his time, his masterworks including The American, The Turn of the Screw, Daisy Miller, The Portrait of a Lady, The Wings of the Dove, and The Aspern Papers.

“Henry James is as solitary in the history of the novel as Shakespeare is in the history of poetry.”

—Graham Greene


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