Turn Of The Screw By Henry James

1012 Words5 Pages
Turn of the Screw by Henry James is a psychological case study of the narrator, the Governess, who is emotionally unstable with phantasms of the living which are merely illusions of her psychotic mind. The governess’s illusive mind leads to her obsession with becoming the heroine of Miles and Flora who she suspects are on the verge of corruption due to the supernatural activity of Miss Jessel and Peter Quint. However, her excessive obsession to become the heroine only leads to a major downfall because instead she is depicted as an insane anti-heroine. She goes from longing to save the innocent and unimpeachable children to forming mindless accusations against them. Considering this, James depicts her as an unreliable and unsound character with illusions of supernatural activity that is only existent because of her tormented and unsound state which prevents her from noticing the tell tale signs of her becoming an insane anti-heroine instead of a heroine. By highlighting the governess’s flaws, James is trying to communicate how obsession of heroism is not essential to survival as it only leads to a defective character. Throughout the novel, the governess’s phantasm causes her reliability to be questioned and doubted. In the prologue, Douglass, who is very fond of the governess, describes her as being the “most charming person” and “most agreeable person” he knows. (5) Through his description of the governess, it is hinted that Douglass is in love with the governess
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