Henry James manipulates his readers unmercifully in "The Figure in the Carpet.” There are always lures, always tentative hopes that the secret, which is variously and curiously described, will in the end be made plain. In spite of the narrator's dashed expectations and waning enthusiasm to know what Vereker thought was the essential feature of his work, we readers still wonder. This paper will examine some of the ways that James arouses our desire for knowledge and meaning. By thwarting this desire, James tosses the gauntlet at our feet. It is the reader's task, not the writer's, at this point to struggle with indeterminacy and to discern meaning.
©1987 by the Board of Student Publications, University of Northern Iowa
Draftings In: Vol. 2:
1, Article 8.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uni.edu/draftings/vol2/iss1/8