Essay on Protecting Miles and Flora in The Turn of the Screw

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Protecting Miles and Flora in The Turn of the Screw

“I saw my service so strongly and simply. I was there to protect and defend the little creatures…” The governess sees it as her duty to protect Miles and Flora. What do they need protection from and how does Henry James illustrate this in his novel “The Turn of the Screw”?

Henry James’s ‘Turn of the Screw’ can be interpreted in many different ways. He constructed his novel in order to make allusions to sexual topics, (without stating anything explicitly) madness, ghosts and the
Victorian society. In this essay I will be analysing each of the above in order to make a conclusion as to what I think the children need protecting from.

As for the ghosts being present or not,
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But either way I don’t believe the governess saw the ghosts based on two main factors; first being, her vague description of Miss Jessel, and secondly, the fact Mrs Grose never saw either of the ghosts.

I think the children need protection from the governess and her imagination. The governess comes across to have an unbalanced behaviour which doesn’t go well with the children. I also think madness links into the fact the governess is hallucinating. I believe the hallucinations have lead the governess to get carried away, which slowly turned her insane and made her very over-protective towards the children. The more the governess hallucinates the more insane she is going to get, which is not going to protect the children in anyway as she would be trying to sort out her imagination. The governess is only a child herself, having to cope with two other children alone maybe a bit to much too handle, so having this other pressure (the hallucinations) to cope with might just leave her to break down mentally. In the turn of the screw, Henry James never identifies who is to blame for the chaos at Bly. The interpretation bought about by the
Victorian society is that the master is to blame. By neglecting his responsibility to provide a stabilizing environment at Bly, he allowed everything to breakdown into chaos:

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