The Governess Is Deluded The Children Are

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The Governess Is Deluded; The Children Are Merely Innocent Victims Essay, Research Paper Literary criticism on The Turn of the Screw has been divided into 3 groups, concerning the plot. The first is to take the novel at face value, and say that it is a ghost story, that the children are possessed by the ghosts. Others have said that it is a psychological drama that plays upon some of Freud?s theses – the ghosts are hallucinations of a sexually repressed girl who has been given a sudden boost in responsibility, and her madness corrupts the beautiful. The third is to say that the novel is a meta-fiction it comments on the popular gothic style of writing novels, which were often read deeply into, by repressed Victorians looking for something to be ?outraged? by, and therefore

is written to be so ambiguous that it is impossible to say if the ghosts are ghosts or not. Consider the possibility that the first two ideas are combined, perhaps the ghosts do exist but the governess is driven mad by them, and eventually kills Miles in an attempt to banish the ghosts. Critics have taken one part of the book to be the most important in the argument for the existence of the ghosts, and this is the fact that the governess describes in great detail the appearance of a man who she has never seen before. He: ?? has no hat…He has red hair, very red, close – curling, and a pale face, long in shape, with straight good features and little rather queer whiskers that are as red as his hair ?. This is enough evidence for Mrs. Grose to identify him as: ? ?Peter Quint –

his own man, his [the master?s] valet, when he was here! ??. Then Mrs. Grose informs the Governess that Peter Quint is dead, but instead of protesting that she cannot have seen a dead man she accepts the fact, maybe this means that she has seen him before, after his death, and when the governess sees Quint for the first time, Mrs. Grose is shocked to see the governess at the window. Here is more proof to back up the argument that Mrs. Grose knows about the ghosts. People have said that she may have questioned the other servants as to his appearance, but left it out of the manuscript that she wrote. Quint’s appearance, is very devilish, a man with red hair and whiskers, and Miles in the closing chapter shouts out: ?Peter Quint ? you devil ? It is said that he maybe referring to

the governess as the devil, or is he calling Quint a devil. Another point is that if James had wanted to study sexual frustration in a psychological drama, he could have written a much simpler story, and made it less elaborate. So why is the story overly complex, when there could be one child and one ghost. Also, the phallic symbols would be even more prominent. The governess quite understandably after realising that she has seen a dead man, she tries to make sense of the situation, but this causes her to patch up the story with increasingly illogical ideas. For instance when she sees Mrs. Jessel for the first time she decides that Flora can see the ghost, because she does not look at her. ?My heart had stood still for an instant with the wonder and terror of the question whether

she, too, would see; and I held my breath while I waited for a cry from her…I waited, but nothing came ?. Even though Flora says nothing about the ghost, the governess tells Mrs. Grose that: ?They know – it?s too monstrous: they know, they know! ? and goes on to tell Mrs. Grose not to ask Flora about it because?? – she?ll lie! ?. She also decides that ?the child will keep it up…[ visiting Miss Jessel] without my knowing it ?. There is no evidence that any of this is true, the Governess is deciding that it must be, because it fits with what she has seen. She decides that they are evil, because they whisper to each other, but many children whisper to their siblings, and are not possessed by ghosts. Although Miles is very intelligent, this does not mean he is bad, the