1 d 4 14 d b 1000 The Turn of the Screw: An Analysis of the Reliability of the Governess Kristina Lee The Turn of the Screw: An Analysis of the Reliability of the Governess One of the most critically discussed works in twentieth-century American literature, The Turn of the Screw has inspired a variety of critical interpretations since its publication in 1898. Until 1934, the book was considered a traditional ghost story. Edmund Wilson, however, soon challenged that view with his assertions that The Turn of the Screw is a psychological study of the unstable governess whose visions of ghosts are merely delusions. Wilson’s essay initiated a critical debate concerning the interpretation of the novel, which continues even today (Poupard 313).
Speculation considering the truth of the events occurring in The Turn of the Screw depends greatly on the reader’s assessment of the reliability of the governess as a narrator. According to the “apparition ist” reader, the ghosts are real, the governess is reliable and of sound mind, and the children are corrupted by the ghosts.
The “hallucination ist”, on the other hand, would claim the ghosts are illusions of the governess, who is an unreliable narrator, and possibly insane, and the children are not debased by the ghosts (Poupard 314).
The purpose of this essay is to explore the “hallucination ist” view in order to support the assertion that the governess is an unreliable narrator. By examining the manner in which she guesses the unseen from the seen, traces the implication of things, and judges the whole piece by the pattern and so arrives at her conclusions, I will demonstrate that the governess is an unreliable narrator. From the beginning of The Turn of the Screw, the reader quickly becomes aware that the governess has an active imagination. Her very first night at Bly, for example, “[t]here had been a moment when [she] believed [she] recognized, faint and far, the cry of a child; there had been another when [she] found [herself] just consciously starting as at the passage, before [her] door, of a light footstep.” The governess herself acknowledges her active imagination in an early conversation with Mrs. Grose, when she discloses “how rather easily carried away” she is.
Protest Songs Essay Over the years, there have always been songs, and things to protest about. And what do you get when you put them together You get... Protest Songs! ! Protest songs have been around for almost for ever, song artists used and still use their music to voice their opinion against things, therefore making it a form of protest. I am going to compare and contrast a poem from the Great ...
Her need for visions and fantasies soon lead her to believe that apparitions are appearing to her. It is from this point on that she begins to guess the unseen from the seen, trace the implication of things, and judge the whole piece by the pattern. After the first appearance of Peter Quint, the governess begins to make inferences that lead to her unsubstantiated beliefs. The governess received a letter telling of Miles’ expulsion from school before the appearance of Quint.
Afterwards, however, she infers that because Miles is beautiful, the expulsion is absurd and he must be innocent: .” … he was only too fine and fair for the little horrid unclean school-world… .” She later claims that “[h]e had never for a second suffered. [She] took this as a direct disproof of his having really been chastised… .” She feels that all of these inferences are truths because Miles is beautiful.
Because the governess can see that Miles is beautiful, she infers that he can do nothing wrong, and thereby guesses the unseen from the seen. The governess soon begins to trace the implication of things. Peter Quint’s second appearance leads the governess to claim that he had not come for her. “He had come for someone else. This flash of knowledge” later convinces her that the person he has come for is Miles. Quint wants to appear to the children.
On another occasion, when the ghost of Miss Jessel appears to the governess when Flora is near, she is certain that the child has seen the apparition. In talking to Mrs. Grose about the occasion, she tells her that; “Flora saw… I saw with my eyes: she was perfectly aware…
The Essay on Identify the various assumptions about children in early modern Europe, and analyze how these assumptions affected child-rearing practices
During early modern Europe children were treated differently throughout that time. This of course changed how their parents treated them. In the early 16th century there was a lot of sicknesses and the infant mortality rate was high. Many children died and it was normal , so when a child reached adulthood they beat the odds and were special. During that time a lot of parents thought that being ...
I’m clear. Flora doesn’t want me to know… [Miss Jessel’s intention is to] get hold of her… That’s what Flor d 9 c a knows.” Never in the novel is there any reason given for supposing that anyone other than the governess, especially the children, sees the ghosts. Although she believes that the children do see them, there is never any proof given.
Nonetheless, the governess knows that they can see them and knows they are lying to her about their visions. While Flora’s behavior during the governess’ encounter with Miss Jessel seems, to the reader, to be innocuous, the governess infers that because the child did not look up, but continued to play with her toy, Flora must have seen the apparition as well. She traces the implication of things further by asserting that Quint is after Miles and Miss Jessel is after Flora. None of these inferences, however, are backed up with any evidence other than “flashes of knowledge” received by the governess. Throughout The Turn of the Screw, the governess seems to worry that the others think she is insane. She uses her narration to convince the reader that the pattern of events proves that she is not insane.
Beginning with her vivid description of Peter Quint to Mrs. Grose, the governess attempts to prove that her fantasy is a reality. When she later senses that Mrs. Grose may be doubting her, she questions “how, if [she] had made it up, [she] had been able to give, of each of the persons appearing to [her], a picture disclosing, to the last detail, their special marks…
.” She also uses the stories Mrs. Grose told about Jessel and Quint to explain how logical it would be for these two intrinsically evil people to want to “get” the children. It can be argued that the governess believes the children see the apparitions simply because she doesn’t want to be the only one who does. It is another feeble attempt to prove her sanity to herself and to others.
?Child Neglect is failure to provide for a child’s basic needs. Neglect can be physical, educational, or emotional. Physical neglect includes denial of, or delay in, seeking health care; abandonment; removal from the home or refusal to allow a runaway to return home; and poor supervision. The magnitudes of neglect can impair a child's learning ability, their self-esteem, their current and future ...
However, because she “is so easily carried away”, she soon believes that the children do in fact see the ghosts by reading into their every remark and behavior. By piecing all of this together, the governess proves to herself that she is not insane. The governess in The Turn of the Screw, is a highly unreliable narrator. From the beginning of the story, her energetic imagination is displayed to the reader. With this knowledge alone, it would not be irrational to conclude that she had imagined the appearances of Peter Quint and Miss Jessel.
However, these facts in addition to her unsubstantiated inferences allow the reader to intelligently label the governess as an unreliable narrator. Works Cited Poupard, Dennis. “Henry James.” Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism: Volume 24. Ed. Paula K epos. Detroit: Gale research.
; 1990. 313-315. Word Count: 1092 e 43 0.