The Turn Of The Screw

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The Turn Of The Screw – Evaluation And Critique Essay, Research Paper The Turn Of The Screw Thesis Statement: While ?The Turn of the Screw? initially appears to be a typical ghost story, progression of the novel exposes the narrator?s ignorance and unfamiliarity of her position as the narrator moves towards a nervous breakdown. ?The Turn of the Screw?, by Henry James, first appears to the reader as a ghost story. It is the tale of how a young lady accepts a job as a governess, and how she is to be in charge of a house resided by two children, Flora and Miles. The young lady (never given a proper name) instantly falls in love with the two children, and is quite content with her job. However, some strange and ominous things start to happen. First, Miles is withdrawn from

school, and then the young lady begins to see people where she shouldn?t be seeing anyone. Upon questioning, Mrs. Grose (the housekeeper) tells the young lady about two previous residents of the house and their position to the children( 24). She also tells the young lady that both of them are now deceased. The young lady becomes convinced that these two apparitions she sees are indeed these two previous residents (Peter Quint and Miss Jessel.) The rest of the novel is dedicated to showing the young lady?s despair, and Miss Jessel.) The rest of the novel is dedicated to showing the young lady?s despair, how she convinces herself that the children are aware of the apparitions, and how they all together are forming a conspiracy against her. At the climax of the novel, Flora becomes

deathly ill and is taken away by Mrs. Grose, and Miles dies due to the shock of ?seeing? Peter?s ghost. In actuality, however, none ever sees, or at least claims to see, these apparitions that the young lady is so uneasy about. The young lady is the narrator of the story, and her narration and viewpoint are both very questionable. It seems that what she sees and even what she thinks she sees are all incomplete, and filled in by her imagination and her paranoid and jumpy conclusions. When she begins spotting these ?ghosts?, she has no clue who they are. She first encounters the ?apparition? of Peter Quint, and upon explanation she tells Mrs. Grose that he appeared ?far from a gentleman.? Mrs. Grose brings up Peter Quint, but says he always looked like a gentleman, but acted

suspicious. On page 27 of the novel, Mrs. Grose says the following about Peter Quint, ?Quint was so clever- he was so deep.? It is then and only then that our narrator decides that the person he saw was ?indeed a gentlemen.? This attitude, this perspective, brought on probably by the anxiety of the new job, new responsibility, and sheer loneliness, is only fuel to her conception of these ?apparitions?, which is practically handed to her with illustration by Mrs. Grose?s steady supply of information. Another example of the narrator?s presumed fact is how she decides that the children are in association with the apparitions. She is completely convinced of this. Yet when she ?encounters? the ghost of Miss Jessel at the beach shore for the first time, Flora is completely unaware of

the ?apparition?s? presence, and actually has her back towards her. Even more illuminating, about two hours later the narrator tells Mrs. Grose ?The Children know all that we know – Flora saw!?(30) She is, of course, speaking of Miss Jessel, and how by this time paranoia has caused her to honestly believe that Flora saw her, yet it is clearly shown that Flora is too preoccupied with the water and her toys to even notice Miss Jessel. The end result of the narrator?s lunacy and anxiety is Flora contracting a deadly illness and the untimely death of Miles. After the narrator verbally assaults Flora, calling her a liar ( 70) and accusing her off conspiring with Miss Jessel, Flora becomes deathly ill and the narrator pleads with Mrs. Grose to take Flora away, thus saving her from