The Turn of the Screw

A Screw Loose with Society 11th Grade

The general rule of thumb when performing handiwork involving screws--ingrained in one’s mind from youth and persisting forever onwards--is that age-old, ever-so-slightly childish mnemonic, “Righty tighty, lefty loosey.” When one expects the screw to tighten, right is the way to turn it, and the reverse holds just as true. Simple enough to remember, is it not? However, for the longest of times, the rudimentary logic of expectation versus the realization of that expectation, the uncomplicated rationale of turning the screw the proper way to garner the ideal result, has been lost on society in terms of its treatment of women. As Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw portrays, society has been putting unreasonable expectations onto women in ways that impact them horrendously. Just as ignorantly as someone turning a screw left and expecting it to tighten, society attempted counterintuitively to strive towards utopia through the backwards method of subjecting women to strict gender roles and expecting the world to grow better for them. Ever since James first published the book, fools and scholars alike debated pointlessly and endlessly over whether or not the Governess’s tale is truly supernatural, and so far, there have been no...

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