Turn of the Screw

Turn of the Screw - Turn of the Screw According to his...

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Turn of the Screw According to his James Henry’s preface, the origin of The Turn of the Screw was a story that the archbishop of Canterbury told to him about some children who were haunted by ghosts of servants who wanted to hurt them. Unlike Benson, Henry made the presence of the ghosts a sort of secondary source, as readers hear the story as Douglas heard it from the journal of a governess who may not have been in her right mind at the time. The basic theme of the novel focuses on the battle of good versus evil forces, yet the end of the novel is confusing as to which side indeed triumphs. One of the most blatantly obvious yet easily overlooked narrative hooks that Henry puts in the Turn of the Screw is the fact that the ghosts are visible only to the governess. From her descriptions of the apparitions to Mrs. Grose, the readers are told that they are indeed two dead employees; Miss Jessel and Peter Quint. When the governess described the ghosts to Mrs. Grose, she recognized the immediately. Yet, if the governess made up the ghosts, how would Mrs. Grose have immediately recognized them? Both of them had been dead one year before the governess’s arrival, so she could not have possibly known who they were well enough to accurately describe them. Another point to the defense or another point that counters the defense of the governess’s truthfulness and sanity is the fact that Quint and Jessel never speak, carry out any actions, or even approach the governess or the children. Every single time the ghosts just appear and stare at the governess or at one of the children. For example, in chapter five, Mrs. Grose asks, "What was he doing on the tower?" and the governess answers, "Only standing there and staring down at me" (Henry 318). Also, later while describing to Mrs. Grose her reaction when she first saw Jessel, the
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This essay was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course PLS 120 taught by Professor Nichols during the Spring '08 term at Union.

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Turn of the Screw - Turn of the Screw According to his...

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