The Beast in the Jungle is the story of John Marcher, a man preoccupied with the idea that he will be slain in a dramatic fashion. This foreboding dominates his life, lying in wait in his subconscious like the eponymous beast, and causes him to squander the affections and attention of May Bartram. John does not realize that the calamity he spent so long anticipating was in fact his own inability to settle down and love May in return.
Bless the Beasts and the Children is the story of six emotionally damaged boys sent by their parents to a rough and tumble cowboy-styled camp in Arizona. They grow close due to their alienation from the other campers, but their attempts to put an end to the barbaric local tradition of slaughtering tame bison in canned hunts, despite being an affirming coming of age experience, ends in tragedy. One of the boys dies in an attempt to spook the complacent bison into running and the others are quickly discovered.