A Nineteenth Century Ghost Story in The Turn of The Screw by Henry James

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A Nineteenth Century Ghost Story in The Turn of The Screw by Henry James

The Turn of The Screw is a classic Gothic ghost novella with a wicket twist set in a grand old house at Bly. The story is ambiguous; we never fully know whether the apparitions exist or not and we are left with many more questions than answers.

The Governess is left in charge of two young children, Miles and Flora, of whom she later becomes obsessed with, describing them as 'angelic'. She has no contact with her employer from London, the children's enigmatic uncle once there, sparking suspicions of the children being unwanted. The anonymous Governess' obsessive nature is taken to another level, with the darker side of Bly
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You don't tend to see this type of story anymore and the popularity that they enjoyed decades ago seems to be waning.

Setting is a key feature for Gothic Stories and The Turn of The Screw keeps in line with tradition, with the story being set in an 'old family house in Essex'. As well as the setting being key to a gothic story, the choice and use of characters is equally as important, from the protagonist and central character through to the peripheral characters. The appearance of apparitions is a key characteristic of the gothic genre and the ambiguous and paranoid nature of the Governess, the protagonist, serves to create atmosphere and build tension. Henry James uses emotive language and the use of figurative language helps to provoke the reader into the story and encourages cinematic images, which allow the reader to feel more involved with the story, having a strong effect. At the time of writing, technology was not at the stage of televisions or computers; so all images were set in the mind. Henry James' suspense laden structure also draws in the reader urging them to read on, with ambiguous content, mysterious behaviour, possessive behaviour, paranoia and "angelic and mesmerising beauty." The obvious themes used are good vs. evil and this theme is closely linked to the theme

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