The Turn of the Screw

The Haunting of Mrs. Grose in Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw College

Henry James’ popular novel The Turn of the Screw is often subjected to re-examination because the writing is saturated with ambiguity preventing the reader from deriving a definitive resolution. This ghost story provides both faith in and distrust of the belief of ghosts who appear to be at fault for the major events in the story. In the 1840s in England, a young inexperienced woman becomes a governess for two young orphaned children, Flora and Miles, at a country house she refers to as Bly. The reader is absorbed following her account of what happens in this house. Because of the social hierarchy within the house she finds herself lonely, and because of her ghost sightings she finds herself a hostess for the uncanny. She recruits Mrs. Grose as her ally to defeat both her loneliness and the ghosts that are haunting her and the children. Mrs. Grose, a serious down-stairs servant who took care of Flora and Mile’s grandmother before she passed on and has stayed with the family ever since collecting trust and secrets, nonverbally accepts the request. The stress the governess is under and the way she acts is thought to come directly from her unworldly encounters, however, it appears that the natural take even more of a toll on her...

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