Lauren of Henry James and his own perspective

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Lauren Russell Mr. SpanierEnglish 4 AP22 December 2017The Doppelganger on  Jolly Corner The word doppelganger come from the German language. The literal meaning is “double walker” — as in a ghost or shadow of yourself. In The Jolly Corner by Henry James, Spencer sees a version of himself 45  Henry James uses the doppelganger motif to creatively express his personal experiences through the characters in the Jolly Corner. While the ghost serves as Spencer Brydon’s Doppelganger or “alter ego” , it is also the Doppelganger of  Henry James and his own perspective on reminiscing and accepting past mistakes in order to move forward.Spencer spends most of his adult life traveling around the world. The death of his two older brothers brings him back to New York so he can monitor and conduct the construction on both of his two properties, one being his childhood home in which he liked to called The Jolly Corner. Overtime, Spencer develops an obsession with his childhood home. He finds himself visiting his property religiously, sometimes more than once a day. During one of spencers regular visits to his beloved estate, he comes face to face with a ghostly figure. “The image of the “presence,” whatever it was, waiting there for him to go–this image had not yet been so concrete for his nerves as when he stopped short of the point at which certainty would have come to him.”  He had seen his alter ego and at that moment he had become aware of everything he could have done but failed to do. “For, with all his resolution, or more exactly with all his dread, he did stop short–he hung back from really seeing. The risk was too great and his fear too definite: it took at this moment an awful specific form” . The shock of coming in contact with a ghost in his childhood home causes Spencer to faint. He described his encounter as a “sensation more complex than had ever before found itself consistent with sanity.” What scared him the most was that he had to deal with his past. He was forced to confront his feelings and mistakes, which was something he had been avoiding ever since he left New York.  The ghost that Spencer had found in his childhood home was in fact his alter ego, the man he would have been. If Spencer chose to stay in New York instead of galavanting around the globe he could have maintained the relationships between him and his family and friends. Now, his family has left him and he is left with everything he could have done but decided to ignore.   “I believe I’m thought in a hundred quarters to have been barely decent. I’ve followed strange paths and worshipped strange gods; it must have come to you again and again–in fact you’ve admitted to me as much–that I was leading, at any time these thirty years, a selfish frivolous scandalous life. And you see what it has made of me.” Spencer Recognises that he had waited some of the most crucial years of his life and he knows that he had to pay for his mistakes  and move on. Henry James chose the ghost as the main focal point in which everything revolves around. The ghost is not only Spencer Brydon’s Doppelganger or “alter ego” but it is also the Doppelganger of  Henry James and his own personal experiences and feelings from specific events in his own life. Different interactions throughout the novel between the characters and the ghost are a reflection of Spencers progress. It is a representation of how he is dealing with the death of his two older brothers and the choices he had made in the past. James chose to use a ghost to embody Spencers repressed feelings and issues. ” Great builded voids, great crowded stillnesses put on, often, in the heart of cities, for the small hours, a sort of sinister mask, and it was of this large collective negation that Brydon presently became conscious–all the more that the break of day was, almost incredibly, now at hand, proving to him what night he had made of it.” Mixing  a ghost in one of Spencer’s fond childhood memories allows James to have creative freedom in expressing his psychological perspective of his own life in a somewhat physical representation of himself. Conclusion 2345678

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