Henry James was one of the famous writers during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He was known as an innovative and independent novelist. One of James' novels, The Turn of the Screw (1898), has caused a lot of controversy among many critics, and each of them has had a particular interpretation. James' creative writing built a close connection between his novel and his readers. The reactions of the readers toward The Turn of the Screw can be researched psychologically by analyzing how James developed his story using questionable incidents, an unreliable narrator, unexpected changes, an interesting prologue, and effective images and words.
The seclusion endured by the narrator causes a dramatic change in her mental state. Her surroundings are now coming alive within the walls around her. “I didn’t realize for a long time what the thing was that showed behind, that dim sub-pattern, but now I am quite sure it is a woman” (736). Initially, the figure witnessed around the walls was merely just the shadow projected from the narrator creeping around the paper. Now this shadow is taking on not just any life form but ironically the form of a woman. Just like the narrator is trapped within the barred windows of the mansion, the woman is trapped within the patterns of the paper. This parallel view is transforming the narrator’s identity within the walls of the paper. However, this obsession begins to heighten. She begins to see the woman through every window in the bedroom. She appears to be creeping not only around the walls but now outside in the garden and along the
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
The presented paper aims to discuss the elements of spectrality and ghostliness while analyzing the social context entitled as Outside the Bones and Delirium. Moreover, the paper signified the role of women and their mystical powers based on their personal reflections.
This essay will explore the function of the narrative which helps the readers to perceive the meaning of the narrative. It will do so in terms of the point of view, narrative voice as well as the structure of the narrative. Furthermore, the setting of the story will be another focus which exploits the generic convention which reflects the social anxiety behind the story at the time. I
Since Romanticism often places emphasis on the importance of emotion, Romantics may use dream imagery to display the overflow of abundant feelings. Such is the case with Edgar Allen Poe’s “Ligeia”. While Poe’s themes are usually Romantic, “Ligeia” uses dreams to “[dramatize] the romantic's disenchantment with a world drained of its power to arouse joy and a sense of elevated being” (Gargano 338). The fine line of fantasy vs reality is blurred and bestows multiple versions of reality as the narrator slowly descends into madness. Poe’s use of dream imagery is prominent during the descriptions of the house, the narrators reminiscences of his first wife Ligeia, and his opium induced hallucinations. The use of this literary device demonstrates how the loss of Ligeia messes with the narrator's sanity and sense of fulfillment in his life. These dreams enable him to revisit Ligeia“out of [his] own self-consciousness” (Lawrence).
Charlotte Gilman, through the first person narrator, speaks to the reader of the stages of psychic disintegration by sharing the narrator's heightened perceptions: "That spoils my ghostliness, I am afraid, but I don't care--there is something strange about the house--I can feel it" (304). The conflicting
It is not surprising that Henry James’ “The Turn of the Screw” could be considered a decidedly unsettling novella. The main narrator of the story, the governess, is constantly placed into situations where, coming from her point of view, appear to be fantastic and unnatural. Apparitions, mysterious deaths, and unlikely events begs the question of what really might be happening at the Bly estate. Flora’s act of being able to row the boat by herself to the opposing shore infers that Flora is superhuman, and quite possibly, a child that is possessed by a supernatural being.
The author selects techniques of diction such as connotation, repetition, and onomatopoeia, to establish the fear is the overall excerpt. He manipulates connotation to enhance the mood. As the character is driven about the midnight landscape by the mysterious coachman, he notices the “frowning rocks” hanging over the road, a “ghostly flicker” of blue light which
Pieces of literature often show relationships involving the supernatural. In Macbeth (1606), the supernatural plays an extremely important part in the structure of the plot. It provides a substructure for action, a deeper look into Macbeth’s character and it affects the impact of numerous scenes. In contrast, in Susan Hill’s novel, The Woman in Black (1983), Susan shows how the supernatural can be used in an attempt to make the reader frightened, she attempts to do this through the ghost of Jennet Humfryes who is trying to seek revenge and solace for the injustice that was done to her in her past life and to her son. Once again, the supernatural plays an integral part throughout the story with the ghost of Jennet Humfryes and what occurs at Eel Marsh house. While over three hundred and seventy years separate the two pieces of literature, both explore how the supernatural affects the protagonist’s sanity and both pieces of literature feature the supposed involvement of ghosts which are widely used in plays or novels that feature the supernatural. However, whereas Shakespeare illustrates the destructive effects the supernatural can have on a protagonist’s (Macbeth’s) decision making and how an honourable and well respected man can turn into a dishonourable and largely hated man whom people generally despise. Susan Hill demonstrates the effect of when the supernatural affects a lawyer who doesn’t end up resorting to doing anything dishonourable and who doesn’t deserve the
Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw has been described as one of the best ghost stories of all time. However, there is clear evidence that the main character, the governess, suffers from delusions. The strange events that occur throughout the story happen in the estate of Bly. The anomalies, described as horrors or ghosts, only come to light after the governess arrives. These events are due to creations of the governess ' mind, her controlling intent to protect and overrule the children, and her unstable mental state. In this way, her thoughts and her actions are the cause of the strange events at Bly.
As the tale begins we immediately can sympathize with the repressive plight of the protagonist. Her romantic imagination is obvious as she describes the "hereditary estate" (Gilman, Wallpaper 170) or the "haunted house" (170) as she would like it to be. She tells us of her husband, John, who "scoffs" (170) at her romantic sentiments and is "practical to the extreme" (170). However, in a time
This abnormal phenomenon significantly affects the narrator and robs him of his rest. The faint sound of a spirit will only add to his inability to sleep through the storm. Distraught and scared by these events that he cannot rationalize, he decides desert his efforts of sleep and attempt to walk them away. As the narrator’s efforts to suppress his fears fail him he decides to read a story to his old friend Usher, by paranormal activity, the sounds that are written in the book begin to occur parallel in the Usher residence. He finds himself agitated “by a thousand conflicting sensations, in which wonder and extreme terror were predominant…” (Poe).
In Angela Carter’s “The Lady of the House of Love” and Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher,” reason is shown to be inadequate in explaining the apparitions that appear. The insufficiency of reason shrouds events in mystery, and instills fear and apprehension in both the characters and the audience. There are figures present in each story who represent logic and reason and firmly believe that supernatural elements do not exist, and their attempts to rationalize the anomalies that face them are futile. In Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher,” reason is insufficient to explain abnormal occurrences, as with Carter’s “The Lady of the House of Love,” but while Usher and the narrator’s emotions in Poe’s story are relatively
The Turn of the Screw is one of the most controversial works in literature and the text has provoked a variety of critical interpretations from its publication in 1898. In this novel, the governess tells her experience with two apparitions that no one but she could see. And the governess accuses the ghosts of servants for corrupting the children, Miles and Flora. Critics concerning about the truth of the story are divided two basic camps based on their acceptance or rejection of the governess's credibility as a storyteller. Some critics believe that the ghosts are real and the governess is a rational and credible narrator, while the others believe that the ghosts are hallucinations of the governess and regard the governess as an incredible and mentally abnormal narrator. Also, we could speculate the author’s intention on the basis of his life experience and other works of Henry James. This essay will examine the reliability of the governess on the basis of the text and interpret Henry James’s intention on the basis of other sources.