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The Turn of the Screw Essay

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The Turn of the Screw

"I must take my horrid plunge" from the opening line sets the tone of the passage. The novel's gothic form is revealed very early on in the passage. There is a distinctive differentiation between horror and terror derived from the studies of Radcliffe. "Terror" is when one induces to action and "horror" is when one is "powerless" and
"freezes" as a result of it. The Governess' horrid plunge is a forced action, as she is powerless to combat the supernatural forces that oppose her. The gothic tone is intensified by strong language and a series of effective individual words, aiming to build up a sense of fear and insecurity for the reader. "Shrouded", "dangerous", "dread" are among other words that are
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Again we are repetitively informed about her shock and dreadful experience. The intensity, however, is slightly dimmed by the effect of its retrospective narration.

References to Fielding's Amelia are very important in this passage as characters and events in The Turn of the Screw relate to those of
Fielding's novel. Amelia, which the governess is reading just before
Quint appears to her on the stairs, contains an "enemy", "adventurer",
"criminal". These words used to describe Quint in the final paragraph, are derived from this book. The plot of this book focuses upon a woman who shows great loyalty to her man, something we see as characteristic of our governess. Amelia also contains stories of young women ruined by attractive men, including Mrs. Bennet. Mrs. Bennet's life is somewhat similar to that of the governess'. She too had her own infatuation with a gentleman in Harley Street. Perhaps the book has excited in her an hysterical hallucination?

Following on from her read, James also presents us with the ambiguity of time - time playing an important role in determining the clarity and reliability of events. The governess is reluctant to look at her watch; increasing the vagueness of time. The duration of her meeting with Quint can only be five minutes. When she stops reading the book it is "horribly late", but surely
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