In Edith Wharton's "The Eyes", the main character is a rather narcissistic gentleman of some fortune that enjoys being idolozed by others and to be the center around which the social world and conversation orbits. He sits back on his armchair, listening and blinking through smoke circles with the cheerful tolerance of a wise old idol. He is presented here as someone who is self-important and one who is used to being the center of attention -- in this case idolized.
He tries to set himself up as a man of knowledge and scientific thought. Culwin feels that he could have exorcized both phantasms by asking for a prescription and dismissed the thought of a ghost or other fantasy. He feels he is beyond the idea of normalcy. Indeed, when he first encounters the eyes, it is when he is treating others with a bit of disdain as though they were boring, stupid, and far beneath his intelligence and station. He is fascinated that Alice could be so dull yet so complacent and happy, to the point where he sees the phantasm. Is he actually seeing something, or is it his psyche pushing back on a subconscious level?
The same type of scenario is repeated with similar results when he deals with Jimmy. If Culver was really a man of science and a positivist, he would have understood that perhaps the eyes were looking at him from within, especially as the eyes were supposed to be the windows of the soul.
Iron Noder 2017