Fear of emotional intimacy: Maggie's struggle for truth and identity in Henry James's <italic>The Golden Bowl<italic>

Many critics have read <italic>The Golden Bowl<italic> as a fairy tale because the novelist Henry James designs his protagonist, Maggie Verver, as a young woman who in her innocence flees from life until the Prince ironically awakens her to the redeeming experience of evil. Consequently, James portrays Maggie embarking upon a psychological quest to discover the reality behind social pretense and self-denial. By learning to distinguish the subtle nuances between virtue and vice, she gains self-awareness through multiple recognition scenes. In his magnum opus, James depicts his most complex character evolving from archetypal beginnings of excessive romanticism to a multi-faceted identity in which she exchanges her subconscious desires for the knowledge of reality.