Literature Study GuidesThe Turn Of The Screw

The Turn of the Screw | Study Guide

Henry James

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Course Hero. "The Turn of the Screw Study Guide." February 9, 2017. Accessed July 12, 2020.


Course Hero, "The Turn of the Screw Study Guide," February 9, 2017, accessed July 12, 2020,


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Henry James

Year Published






Perspective and Narrator

The Turn of the Screw is narrated in the first person in the Prologue by an anonymous narrator who provides background information for the story. An unnamed governess narrates the remainder of the novella in the first person and exclusively from her point of view.


The Turn of the Screw is written in the past tense.

About the Title

The phrase "turn of the screw" first appears in the Prologue, where Douglas, the reader of the governess's tale, uses the phrase to describe an ominous, evocative twist added to a ghost story. The twist is the addition of a child, or in his story's case, two children.

The governess repeats the phrase in Chapter 22. She reflects on how to deal with the unusual challenges in front of her and decides they require "only another turn of the screw of ordinary human virtue." The phrase implies more than ordinary virtue will be needed to face her confrontation with evil.


This study guide and infographic for Henry James's The Turn of the Screw offer summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.

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