A Quarter Turn of the Screw

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Thumb Screws Available with moveable or fixed bar. Shoulder Screws Commonly used for food and pharmaceutical applications. Captive Screws Used with our captive washers or retaining flanges. Like most modernists, he does play around to some extent with temporality, but only to a small extent, and only slightly with structure. Part of what points to our narration being unreliable, is the fact that the novella is a nested metatext being a story someone is telling about a story that someone else told him about a story that someone else told him.

However, the story isn't really creepy in the way that conventional ghost stories are. Well it is, sort of. But it's also like when you walk into your house at night and the lights are dimmed and there's this hat-and-coat stand at the end of the passage, and in the shadows, it looks like there's a person there, watching Or no, is that just my imagination playing tricks on me?!

Have you ever had a dream in which you vaguely become aware of the presence of someone you feel you know? You seem to know him well from some other dreamscape, and yet you cannot place your finger on who he is, yet his presence seems so sinister. You may even wonder, in such a dream, if that shadowy image could somehow be you yourself, but the thought of that, -the very idea, makes your hair stand on end; gives you a leaden pith of dread that sinks into your stomach and grips your insides with discomfort.

Dream analysts would say that that strangely familiar figure is a projection of the part of your own self that you find unacceptable. This other 'self' can even appear threatening because often our aggressive impulses have to be suppressed as much as, or even more than, our sexual impulses.

If that 'self' came loose from under our control, it could be a dangerous thing, and therefore, we fear it, albeit on a subconscious level. Have you ever had a dream like that? This novella was reminiscent of such a dream; made me feel like I was reading about such a dream. Some people read this as a ghost story, some as a horror story, and some as a psychological thriller or study. The more I go over it the more I see in it, and the more I see in it the more I fear. I don't know what I don't see, that I don't fear! There are Marxist interpretations of this story, Jungian interpretations, Freudian ones, Reader-response analyses, Post-modern, Modern, New Criticism, New Historicism views of the story, you name it.

Oh, and of course, there are those among some of the abovementioned, who take a gay view as well.

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There is no real evidence for or against the direction s James's orientation leaned, though I have read some excerpts of his letters to young men that would incline me to agree that there's a strong possibility that he was gay. Among the 'gay' proponents, are those who say that the governess is a subconscious projection by James of himself and his repressed urges. Whatever other conclusions one might come to, you have to admit that the governess is one tight little ball of repressed urges. I see her as being under a lot of pressure from various origins. One of the pressures she has, is an urge to gain more power.

If you think about it, the governess is actually a nobody. One of the younger children of an obscure country preacher, and a female to boot She is "at the helm" all on her ownsome. Quite a situation for an inexperienced young country girl to find herself in. Wayne C. Booth, a well-known lit crit has said: In English alone I have counted, before I got too bored to go on, more than five hundred titles of books and articles about [The Turn of the Screw], and since it has been translated and discussed in dozens of other languages the total must yield more than a lifetime's possible reading.

James has been very subtle and clever. Even in his preface, and in his responses to readers of the story, he did not give the game away. Indeed, he says in his preface, that the reader's "own imagination, his own sympathy and horror will supply him quite sufficiently with all the particulars.

In this version, the ghosts are real ghosts, and everything the governess says is reliable and true. According to the most cynical versions, the governess is cruel and egocentric; she either made the whole thing up to get attention, or used a fiction of seeing ghosts to try and gain the status of a heroine and to make the master of Bly whom she is in love with take notice of her. Other readings are cynical of actual ghosts, but sympathetic towards the governess in interpreting the ghosts as illusions seen by the governess. Some feel that these illusions are the product of a diseased mind, or of a madwoman, some feel that they are the products of her hysteria, brought on by her sexual longing for the master of Bly.

Some of the ironic readings are mixed. Some people say that the whole thing was a prank by the children, or the servants, or even an attempt by Mrs. Grose to drive the governess mad, so that Mrs. Grose could have her position back as head of the Bly household. In any case, this was my first take on the story, before I had read all the hundreds of interpretations out there: My impression of the children's uncle, the governesses' charming, extravagant, seductive employer was; - what a douchebag. The typical tycoon who extricates himself from his interpersonal responsibilities with cash.

Set the poor little orphans up in a nice comfortable mansion with a string of servants, and he doesn't have to know that they exist. I quite enjoyed the Marxist critique of the story, and of course, no Marxist would have any charitable feelings towards our dashing rich aristocrat who so blithely consigns people to nothingness, banishing them from his sphere of consciousness, like ants.

At first I was entirely sympathetic towards the governess. With her first sighting of Quint, although I thought the whole set-up of how she spotted him was eerie and strange, I initially suspected that Quint might be a ghost, though one isn't entirely sure - this is how subtle James is. I thought he might possibly be a person lurking around the place in a sinister way. The thing that caught me there, was that she was walking around thinking and daydreaming about her employer and wishing he would appear - and lo!

A man did appear. However, like the governess says - not quite the man she had wanted to appear. Those who argue in favor of actual ghosts, say that the fact that Mrs Grose could identify him, proves that he was really the ghost of Quint. However, she has only the governess' word to go on, and recall the governess's initial vagueness about how he looked. When first asked to describe him, she says that he looks like "nobody". That rather shook me in a weird way. It was my first indication that all might not be quite right with the governess's mind.

The second sighting at the dining room really impressed me. One of the best and weirdest pieces of fiction I had read in a long, long time. There's so much in that little scene. First, the way she sees him suddenly through the window, looking in. Even if he were a 'real' person, coming suddenly upon a stranger looking in on your privacy like that must give anybody quite a turn. Note, that she then realizes that he is not looking for her.

She sounds almost a bit disappointed about that How does she 'know' who he is looking for? Then the next part is so well done.

A Quarter Turn of the Screw

I read governess's problem as being one of ego and narcissism. But the children had adored Quint and Jessel, as we have heard by now. So what does she do? Just like a jealous stepmother, she goes out and puts herself in her predecessor's place. She literally replaces her predecessor's image and position with her own, by going around to where he had stood, and she literally says in the story: " It was confusedly present to me that I ought to place myself where he had stood.

I did so; I applied my face to the pane and looked, as he had looked, into the room. As if, at this moment, to show me exactly what his range had been, Mrs. Grose, as I had done for himself just before, came in from the hall. This dreamscape-like scenario lends itself to some very interesting Freudian and Jungian interpretations indeed.

In the Freudian view, ok, there are a few, actually Quint and Jessel's relationship forms an inversion of the governess and her employer's relationship. Jessel and this is also part of the Marxist interpretation had taken a step down when she fell in love with a mere servant, whereas the governess's ambition goes upward, towards her employer. This 'replacement' theme features very strongly in the story; note the schoolroom scene where Jessel 'replaces' the governess by sitting in her chair at her desk.

I quote: ".. While these instants lasted, indeed, I had the extraordinary chill of feeling that it was I who was the intruder. To me the scary part is the implication that both Quint and Jessel are projections by the governess of repressed aspects of her own psyche.

But the scariest interpretation is reading the governess as a psychotic paranoid schizophrenic. There are some people who feel that the governess murdered Miles on purpose, but my personal reading was more sympathetic towards her. I thought that she had perhaps only smothered Miles in her zealous embrace. She was squeeezing the poor tyke. I had more of a feeling that she was a person whose mind was slowly coming apart.

I felt her worst fault was a histrionic narcissistic type of problem. She seems terrified of him leaving Bly, of him escaping from her grasp, because surely then her status, part of her whole reason for being, would be diminished. I also found that the governess kept seeming to read Mrs Grose's reaction incorrectly. Did Mrs Grose really want to kiss her? After all, the governess was put in charge of the household, and therefore she might have the power to fire Mrs Grose, or at least have her fired. It's only at the end , after Flora couldn't take the governess' excesses anymore, that Mrs Grose managed to scrape together enough guts to stand up to the governess in trying to protect poor Flora.

There are those who see a lot of pederasty in the story; between Quint and Miles, and some people even between Jessel and Flora. I must admit that I originally also thought that there was at least more than friendship between Quint and Miles, because that would fit in nicely with the reason why Miles was expelled. It would then make sense that he probably said to "those that he liked" either that he likes them or loves them, or even that he would like to, to put in Victorian language, 'try out a bit of buggery' with them.

James had put Miles's reaction so beautifully: "He looked in vague pain all round the top of the room and drew his breath, two or three times over, as if with difficulty. He might have been standing at the bottom of the sea and raising his eyes to some faint green twilight.

As for pederasty between the governess and the children, some have suggested that she felt a pederastic passion for Miles, and I must admit that the lines: "We continued silent while the maid was with us—as silent, it whimsically occurred to me, as some young couple who, on their wedding journey, at the inn, feel shy in the presence of the waiter.

He turned round only when the waiter had left us. Though I feel one can't be certain The fireside narrator from the intro to the story, Douglas, was, I think, a poor fool who was taken in by the governess and believed her stories. That's more or less how I saw the thing fitting together, but of course, there are a many other interpretations. In the Marxist interpretation, class differences are explored. The children are scorned by their upper class peers, because they dared to lower themselves by mixing with the servants, as represented especially by Quint.

In the Freudian interpretation, you can of course expect it to be all about sex and repressed, subconscious desires. I must admit that James either consciously or subconsciously used some sexual imagery — Quint is associated with the tower, obviously phallic and Jessel is spotted by the lake, the latter of which is often see as a symbol for the womb. Also, while Jessell appears to the governess at the lake, Flora is engaged in sticking a phallic piece of wood into a hole in another piece of wood.

The governess who wrote the story, Douglas, or Douglas's friend who is telling us the story. In fact, you can even call upon the fourth narrator, Henry James himself, as having written a story that unconsciously brought out some of his subconscious issues and desires. Of course James could have consciously written this as a Freudian allegory, but I doubt it, since this novel was published in and Freud's the Ego and The Id was only published in However, it may well be that James was influenced by his brother William's interpretations of psychological phenomena.

However you look at it, James knitted the seams of this story so finely, he weaved his web so delicately, that there is no way to tell any which way for certain. What do YOU think? View all 77 comments. Nov 04, Alex rated it liked it Shelves: reading-through-history , , gothic , favorite-reviews , rth-lifetime. Turn of the Screw is a pretty cool story.

It's about a governess who either heroically attempts to protect her two charges from malevolent ghosts or goes dangerously bonkers. James leaves it ambiguous and I love that kind of story. Ambiguity works for me. Four stars for the plot. Kindof an abrupt ending though. On the other hand there's his writing style. I was at this party once and the topic was what would you do if the world was ending and the answer was generally that we would have all the se Turn of the Screw is a pretty cool story.

I was at this party once and the topic was what would you do if the world was ending and the answer was generally that we would have all the sex. James writes like the world is ending and he's decided to have all the punctuation. Check this entirely typical sentence out: I waited, but nothing came; then, in the first place - and there is something more dire in this, I feel, than in anything I have to relate - I was determined by a sense that, within a minute, all sounds from her had previously dropped; and, in the second, by the circumstance that, also within the minute, she had, in her play, turned her back to the water.

I don't even know what that sentence means. I haven't seen punctuation wasted like that since Fanny Hill. James has used so much punctuation that there was nothing but periods left to use in this review. Fuck you Henry James. View all 37 comments. Aug 14, Sean Gibson rated it liked it. If you enjoyed the preceding word sentence, you will likely enjoy The Turn of the Screw.

View all 28 comments. Jan 05, Anne rated it it was ok Shelves: horror , buddy-read , classics , read-in , audio , paranormal , i-smell-poo. I mean, I thought I'd get a few good jump scares out of a book with possessed children in it. You know what didn't happen, not even once , while I was listening to this book?

THIS: I'm not sure why my teenage self thought The Turn of the Screw was worth 4 stars, but my older-than-teenage self certainly doesn't. On the surface, it seems like this should be a winner for me in the classic department - short, scary But it was kinda crap. So the gist is that thi Redonkulous! So the gist is that this governess is seeing the spirits of these two people. One was the ex-governess, and the other was the rascally friend of her boss. The kids won't admit to seeing these spirits, but the governess knows they've been in contact with the children, because?

All I do know is that the kids never actually did anything even slightly creepy. Anyway, she enlists the help of the feeble-minded housekeeper, and together they try to, um, pretend everything is ok or something? What the what?! That's not a good plan! That's not a plan at all! And the entire book was filled to the brim with stuff like this.

By the end of it I was actively rooting for the ghosts to whisk the kids away just so it would be over. Either ghost stories have changed a whole helluva lot, or this wasn't a ghost story. I mean, it sounded like this governess was just mostly a delusional nutter. She fell in love with the kids' uncle after meeting him once for God's sake! And what was so great about him? That he expressly didn't want her to inform him if there was something wrong with his dead sibling's children? Deal with it on your own.

Wacka, wacka, wacka! What a douche pickle! Who could resist falling for that? Couple that with the fact that her dingy sidekick never sees the ghosts, and I think this chick is more than likely some kind of a loon. I think your time would be better spent stealing sorting through your children's Halloween candy than reading this clunky turd. View all 34 comments. I was actually really excited to read this classic Henry James novella, a gothic ghost story published in A young woman is hired to be the governess for two young orphans by their uncle, whose good looks and charm impress the governess.

She wants to impress him in turn with her capability, especially when his main command to her is that she never, NEVER, bother him with any problems or concerns. She's packed off to the uncle's country estate to meet young Flora and Miles, who are delightful, beautiful children. The housekeeper becomes her friend and confidante. There are just a few odd things: strange noises in the house - footsteps, a child's cry - and Miles has been expelled from his boarding school for mysterious, unnamed reasons.

But really everything is just fine. Until she starts seeing a mysterious man and woman appear and disappear, and becomes convinced that they are the ghosts of the prior governess and another employee. And she's certain that the children see these ghosts but won't admit it. Also she's quite sure that these ghosts are out to get the children. How is she so sure of all these things? Who knows? She just is. And the question is: is she really seeing supernatural manifestations, or is she slowly becoming more and more delusional? And are the children innocent or evil? James includes hints but doesn't ever answer these questions.

It sounds like a fascinating psychological examination, with a narrator who is both unnamed and unreliable. So it surprised me a little when I literally could barely keep my eyes open while I was reading it. The story is told in a roundabout, murky way, which helps create a sense of confusion. You also have to continually plow through sentences like this one: They had never, I think, wanted to do so many things for their poor protectress; I mean--though they got their lessons better and better, which was naturally what would please her most--in the way of diverting, entertaining, surprising her; reading her passages, telling her stories, acting her charades, pouncing out at her, in disguises, as animals and historical characters, and above all astonishing her by the "pieces" they had secretly got by heart and could interminably recite.

I think Henry James must have had some sort of allergy to periods. How did he even stay awake while he was writing convoluted sentences like this? I persevered to the end not so hard to do when it's only pages , but this story just never grew on me. The whole thing was an odd and murky reading experience, which perhaps Henry James would say was his intent.

Too bad it was also so very boring and unsatisfying. So if you ever have insomnia, I've got the book for you. Buddy read with the Non-Crunchy Pantsless group. Jul 13, Jibran rated it it was amazing Shelves: british , fiction. He did stand there! I could not decide whether I was more intrigued by the Gothic thriller or the intricate jalebi of the prose, a truly - truly - labyrinthine prose, which James employs with great effect for the purpose of dissimulation.

Folks would later dub it 'unreliable narration. In any case, this is one of the finest examples of a story where the style of writing itself suggests ideas to the reader without stating anything in concrete terms. I re read it in one sitting, with racing heart and damp underarms, and, probably my blood pressure also shot up, if only metaphorically. No, it wasn't the horror. Horror films don't scare me, let alone the writing. It was, I realised early on, the pressure of the prose bearing down on my soul, its gravity many times greater than that of the earth, until I could not tear myself away till I had finished the job, panting; like when you're planted on the belt of a treadmill inclined upwards, you are making the effort without going anywhere and can't rest your legs until the segment has run its course and your muscles are fully exercised.

This novella is like a literary treadmill. June ' Jun 18, Amalia Gavea rated it it was amazing Shelves: american-literature , horror , united-kingdom , england , victorian , gothic-fiction , psychology-mentality , seasons , mystery-horror , autumn. It was for the instant confounding and bottomless, for if he were innocent, what then on earth was I? The cosmopolitan uncle entrusts his niece and nephew into her hands and asks not to be disturbed under any circumstances. Bly is enormous, the acres endless, the house full of corridors and closed doors.

And then, darkness arrives. A man standing on a tower, a woman in black standing by the lake. A strange song and a face at the window. I always choose this as a part of my summer readings. Its sultry atmosphere soon becomes eerie, its underlying sensuality grows within an environment of secrets and charged sexual tension.

Suffocating and enticing, cryptic and provoking. The questions are many. Is everything real? Or has she found herself in a whirlwind of lust and obsession orchestrated by two malevolent spirits who use the children as vessels and instruments? James is not a writer who provides every solution at the end of his works. The Turn of the Screw is in a league of its own. The place, with its gray sky and withered garlands, its bared spaces and scattered dead leaves, was like a theater after the performance--all strewn with crumpled playbills.

Unique descriptions, commanding atmosphere, a background full of contrasts and dark imagery. The idyllic estate that changes when night falls. Two charming, gifted children that seem rather fascinated with Death, a housemaid that seems to protect every secret of the house. The Turn of the Screw defined the Gothic genre and paved the way for the trope of the Haunted House that is still extremely popular. More than ever, in fact.

Whispers, apparitions, murmurs, nightly windows, shadows, a troubled young woman who wants to help and understand. Add desire and a potential incestuous relationship lurking in the future and you have a timeless story. I read this novella when I was It frustrated me because I was impatient, wanting to have every answer delivered on a silver plate. We discussed the hell out of it in university and I fell in love.

I understood that the majority of the finest books written create more questions when their final page is turned. It was this work that gave birth to my fascination with dubious closures. Now, no matter how many times I have read it, its magnetism stays strong. And I am one of those who side with the heroine. I firmly believe that it was all true. There are many dark forces around us and beyond us.

Who's to say for certain? To myself - today - I need say no more. Large and full and high the future still opens. It is now indeed that I may do the work of my life. And I will. View all 20 comments. What is real , something you see but no one else does, things stare back at you then vanish into the nothingness of oblivion, images that cannot be solid Such is the plot of the famous Henry James novella The Turn of the Screw, more a study of psychological turmoil than pure terror, yet it has it too. A young unnamed woman takes a job as governess to two small children in an old house called Bly, in rural England, set in the 's, she needs the money desperately , What is real , something you see but no one else does, things stare back at you then vanish into the nothingness of oblivion, images that cannot be solid A young unnamed woman takes a job as governess to two small children in an old house called Bly, in rural England, set in the 's, she needs the money desperately , a boy Miles 10, and his sister Flora 8 both handsome , intelligent, very mature for their age, they seem quite normal.

The siblings guardian a remote uncle living in the city London doesn't want to be bothered The housekeeper, a friendly old lady Mrs. Grove, the governess and her become fast friends. Nevertheless there's a darkness brewing, unsaid but felt, the young lady starts to feel uncomfortable from the very beginning, too many mysteries keeps the atmosphere thick with suspense and what happened to the previous governess?

Slowly she begins to discover the truth, a corrosive element bringing death to this estate. A man or maybe not , she sees but that is impossible The late valet of the uncle's had an unfortunate accident, Peter Quint a rascal romantically involved with the previous governess also dead, Miss Jessel, the ghosts of the estate, their ghoulish mists cause havoc. How much do the children know or are they behind the apparitions, the present governess feels the stress and pain of the hopeless situation. The phantoms keep appearing and shockingly disappearing, no relief in sight.

The pond and Flora, make for a frightening episode for everyone there, will she be saved A fine mystery that will seem old-fashioned to some modern readers, yet it does have interesting characters trying to survive unknown factors and clear the air of the horror. If you have read the author books before, you'll enjoy it better. Henry James maybe long winded and you are not too sure what's he "talking about "periodically , still the talent is obvious.

The Turn of the Screw (1974)

The adventurous will be happy at finding this writer, I did. View all 18 comments. Oct 22, Evgeny rated it it was ok Shelves: horror. The plot of this classic Gothic book is well-known, so I will hit only the high points. A governess is hired by an English gentleman to take care of his orphaned nephew and niece. The only big condition for her work: she will never ever bother the guy with the problems with the kids. I could never figure out whether it was his eccentricity, or he just did not care about the kids much.

The governess' first impression of the place was very favorable and the kids were adorable. Add to this good sal The plot of this classic Gothic book is well-known, so I will hit only the high points. Add to this good salary and you have practically a dream job.

Some short time later it turned out that something is rotten in the state of Denmark - to use a quote from another literature classic. An idealistic tale turns out to be horror and adorable kids become monsters and not little monsters either. I would like to start the discussion of the book with writing style. Some people call the style used here beautiful. Some people call it influential. Some people call it classic. I call it painful. It is overly verbose with huge paragraphs at times consisting of a single sentence. The main reason I was able to finish the book was its length: it is short.

I am sure it is the case for its many readers. By the middle of the book I was ready to go on a killing spree if I read one more time about how adorable the kids were: it was repeated countless times on each page. I thought about using this technique in my review, but unlike the author I took pity of my readers. If you take away the verbosity the remaining part is so short it can qualify for a status of a short story. What saves it is the main heroine. Do not believe me? Sure, she did not kill dozens of people standing between her and her goal - something modern "strong" women excel at - and she never tried lifting heavy weighs.

What she does: she is not afraid to go along at night to the place haunted by ghosts armed only with a candle. She keeps fighting for the kids even when everything turns against her. The final rating is 2. I do not regret reading the book, but I will not do it again for anything less than 6-digit amount of money. View all 38 comments.

Sep 06, Lizzy rated it really liked it Shelves: stars-4 , reading-with-vessey , england-britain , read , classics-literay-fiction. I can hear again, as I write, the intense hush in which the sounds of evening dropped. The rooks stopped cawing in the golden sky, and the friendly hour lost, for the minute, all its voice. But there was no other change in nature, unless indeed it were a change that I saw with a stranger sharpness. How he likes to dissimulate, and you can trust him to phrase his ideas and situations in a most imaginative way.

He plays with the reader. But if you insist on clarity, just try to decide whether the governess really did see the ghosts or if it was all a figment of her overexerted imagination. And that is why I enjoyed this elusive and ambiguous guessing game and how I suffered to get to this point! The narrative revolves on itself continuously via half-formed questions and elusive answers.

But suddenly James presents us a real masterful writing, and despite its constant ambiguity, makes us go on: "It was as if, while I took in all the rest of the scene had been stricken with death. The gold was still in the sky, the clearness in the air, and who looked at me over the battlements was as definite as a picture in a frame. That was how I thought, with extraordinary quickness, of each person that he might have been and that he was not. Nevertheless, there are so many things left unsaid, so may half-sentences, as we see in one of the dialogues between the governess and Mrs.

Oh, yes—as to that. Fancy it here—for a governess! And afterward I imagined—and I still imagine. And what I imagine is dreadful. For I discovered soon that there was no truth, so I had to go looking for my own if I could find it! Where the ghosts real? If there were no ghosts, was then the governess insane?

The poor governess that fell in love in just one meeting with the master, that continually rambles about what is happening, or what she imagines is going on around her. She was totally alone and troubled. You could say she was suffering from female sexual hysteria. The governess seemed to adore the children.

Would exasperation, however, if relief had longer been postponed, finally have betrayed me? It little matters, for relief arrived. I call it relief, though it was only the relief that a snap brings to a strain or the burst of a thunderstorm to a day of suffocation. It was at least change, and it came with a rush. That there is an a sense of sexuality in the air in The Turn of the Screw , of that I have no doubt. If could be a latent desire. But there seems to be a possibility.

I stood over him with my candle. Did you fancy you made no noise? I lie awake and think.

Turn of the Screw

What did Quint and Miss Jessel do with, or to the children when they were in charge? Does this have any link with the relationship between the governess and Miles? There are allusions, but James leaves all open for the reader to decide. There is no absolute truth. As a matter of fact, I changed my point of view a few times during my reading. First, of course, I trusted the governess, then I thought she was unreliable and possibly mad, and then I was stricken by a possibility of a relationship with Miles.

If there was danger in Bly, why did she not send Miles away with Mrs. Grouse and Flora? Why did she keep him alone with her in the house? So we readers are very nicely lead in a merry chase as we try to understand what James wanted to communicate. Probably that was just what he wanted, not a complete and easy understanding. Perhaps when all is said and done the moral of the story of The Turn of the Screw is for each of us to decide.

Ultimately, it is the play with meaning, the constant questioning regarding what is happening, the overall ambiguity and freedom of interpretation that transforms the readers into participants, that makes this novella brilliant. In the end, truth is forgotten, and logic seemed to have evaporated; only the persistent and obsessive turn of the screw remains to remind us that all is not as it seems. Feelings that continues with me long after the final sentence. Her fantastic reviews helped me when I first started writing mine! View all 36 comments.

Sep 27, Paul Bryant rated it really liked it Shelves: spooky-ookums , novels. She never told me. I dare say! View all 22 comments. A young governess is hired to care for the young niece and nephew of an unmarried man who acts as guardian of the two following the death of their parents. One condition must be upheld, however — the governess is not for any reason or by any means to contact her new employer.

This seemed to me a daunting task and one which I am not certain would appeal to me in the least. The young governess, however, is charmed by the gentleman and agrees to his request. Her story, detaile 2.

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Her story, detailed in the form of a journal, is told years later and we as readers are privy to the psychological turmoil of this young woman. The question becomes whether her distress is based on reality or if her imagination has run wild due to loss of sanity. Each reader will arrive at a different conclusion to this story. I have been eager to bury myself in this novella for some years now. When I discovered that a group read of this was planned, I took the opportunity to dust off my copy and dive in. It started off as well as I had hoped. I was intrigued; the stage for a satisfying gothic tale was set.

After her arrival, the young governess receives a letter indicating that one of her new charges, Miles, is being sent home from boarding school. No reason for the expulsion is provided. Upon meeting Miles and his younger sister, Flora, our protagonist decides there is nothing these two beautiful and angelic creatures could do wrong. She shoulders her responsibility with determination and devotion. Then one day, as she walks upon the grounds, the governess encounters an unwelcome and menacing visitor standing in the tower of the estate house at Bly.

The gold was still in the sky, the clearness in the air, and the man who looked at me over the battlements was as definite as a picture in a frame. She becomes convinced that these phantoms are those of her predecessor, the former governess Miss Jessel, and that of Quint, the now deceased valet of her current employer. Can anyone else see these visions?

She envelops the housekeeper, Mrs. Grose, in her drama. She persists to determine if the children can see these sinister beings as well. She eventually comes to absolutely believe that the phantoms are there to do harm in some way to the children and that it is her duty to protect them at all costs, yet keeping in mind her promise to never burden her employer with any difficulties.

She will ask herself whether the children are the innocent little persons she originally thought them to be. Tension naturally escalates and the governess comes to question even her own sanity. And while she does, the reader will do the same. However, details provided in the narrative as well as our own beliefs will sway us to credit either one theory or the other — a true haunting or a case of perhaps hysteria on the part of the governess. For me personally, the intention of the author was straightforward.

But that is only my opinion. Other readers will conclude exactly the opposite. Some readers will say that it was deliberately left ambiguous. Now you may be wondering why I rewarded only 2. For me the writing was too convoluted. But here I felt tangled up in the wordiness, the dialogue was inaccessible to me. I felt distanced from the characters to a degree that left me feeling too much like a passive bystander. I wanted to be drawn into the melodrama; I wanted to feel that shiver down my spine. With this book, the dread was underwhelming. It was like watching an old movie on an old television where the fuzz and static take over the screen; I am not fully captivated as a result.

But you may be. If you have ever considered reading this highly acclaimed literary work, then grab a copy. You may love it as others have surely done. What I loved and appreciated most about this novel was the discussion which followed. I have read a number of opinions, a variety of theories, and each one has been invigorating and enriching. I will read this again… someday. View all 40 comments. Jan 07, James rated it it was amazing Shelves: 5-favorite-books , 1-fiction , 4-written-preth-century. Perhaps America's greatest writer from our Realistic period, James's ghost story sets itself above all the rest -- and he has a lot to choose from.

Consider this story a nanny's mind game - but who is in control? I studied James in my college years, even dedicating an entire semester to several of his works as one of my independent studies in my English major. Something about the way James told stories spoke to me, and I felt a connection to him as 5 stars to Henry James 's The Turn of the Screw.