This novel was, surprisingly, in a way that was not all too completely unaware to me – for I could discern my own thoughts concerning the book – interesting. The intensely complex and intricate (if not confusing!) sentences, upon first thought, made me expect an experience of complete, utter, and total confusion; however, they served not only to keep my interest in the novel – for I had to concentrate to grasp the full, rich meaning of his thoughts – but also to create in me a sense of enjoyment, that of being enriched with the experiences of the main character so that my life and that character’s became inseparable, only it occurred not only with the main character, but with the entire plot at once – all characters, all scenes (to which I shall come late), all conversations… everything. I have never seen a man so able to express so much in one sentence, and still be able to have the reader follow his thoughts throughout the entire process. Henry James was a master of expression and grammar. His ability to form a complex, yet coherent sentence did nothing but add to the quality of the novel.
The characters alone added to the quality of the novel. It is not so much as they were entirely believable, but they were believable to the extent of their being in a ghost story. The things that happened to these poor characters were not natural in any sense, but they were completely acceptable from within a ghost story. Miles, for example, was too beautiful in action, too simple in thought, and too tempting in appearance (for both the governess and Mr. Quint) to be considered real; however, he is not too extreme in any of those respects to not have the capacity for existing within a reader’s mind. The same is true of Flora. Her childish innocence and elderly cunning create an ambiguous character that is capable of existing. (Is that not an ambiguity of its’ own?) As far as completely realistic and believable characters – those capable of existing outside the mind and conception of readers – can be examined, a list of them would be short in the superlative. The governess would be the most sane and believable of them all, unless one considers the idea that she is able to see spirits that haunt only the children (is she possessed as well?).
... for his actions which sequentially shape his character, providing the readers with understanding and sympathy towards his inexorable ... of identity to a new level. Jack is completely aware of what he is doing, although ... from such a young and susceptible age. “I thought Roy was what a man should be”, reveals ... largely affects Jack and all aspects of his character, from his deceitful ways, to his violent ...
Mrs. Grose is the next most believable character. Her only shortcoming in that respect is her simple-minded naïveté and her subjection to suggestion. One is forced to wonder if this character has any will or desire to call her own, or if she was born, raised, and hired only to follow the instruction and logic of others. The simple fact that she was illiterate would seem to agree with the idea.
Enough about characters… I want now to speak of setting. There was none. James never described a setting with any significant degree of detail. A window would be looked through, and the reader would discover at the same time who was doing the looking, and the fact that the window existed at all. Even though this causes some abrupt “double-takes of the mind”, if you will, when something new is mentioned that simply does not fit into the setting originally conceived of by the reader. Either the scene becomes immensely distorted (such as an interior room having an excellent view of a back yard), or the reader would become discouraged by not knowing where or how to place objects in a room in their mind to allow for further forthcoming descriptions of the surroundings. However, that was not the case in James’ writing. His lack of significant scenic descriptions opens the easy for more ambiguities to occur. The house, the rooms, the countryside were all left open to the imagination of the reader. James plays with the mind and conception of the reader in a masterful way. He uses the lack of knowledge on behalf of the reader to better his position of storyteller. Had he included all details of the surroundings, for example, the reader would have known that Flora could hide the boat to a side, and would therefore have overshot the current action of the plot.
... in each story that the reader feels the depths of each character's despair. While different in ... offers a material gesture, Updike's American character offers himself as a shield against any ... . "Aspects of Milton's 'Paradise Lost' in James Joyce's 'Araby'.," James Joyce Quarterly, vol. 33, (1995) : Fall ... under a spell of infatuation that pays no mind to anything but their fixations (Wells, 1993). ...
Frankly, James writes in a way that no one else could, and I like it. In addition, he has a knack for terror that remains to this day.