The Thrilling Atmosphere of the Henry James' Horror Novel The Turn off the Screw

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The novel The Turn of the Screw is a ghost story written by Henry James. It is a fairly short gothic horror novel with an interesting twist that leads to a lot of different interpretations. The novel begins by throwing us right into a scene where a group of people on Christmas are sharing ghost stories with each other. One of the people at this sitting decides to send out a copy of a manuscript rather than coming up with a story. The manuscript is about a governess taking on a new job. The governess as she is referred throughout to as took a job educate and train two young children at a country house. Since the last governess died the job was open for a new employee. The one who is employing her is the children's uncle. A rather strange thing the uncle carefully points out is that she should never contact him about the children. Soon after that she headed to Bly estate wich i located in Essex.

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Once there she got a very good first encounter with the children, they seemed very charming and happy. One evening she was out on a walk and saw a man in one of the towers on the mansion. The man gave her a intense stare before he suddenly disappeared. She then explains her experience for the housekeeper Mrs. gorse and she said that from the governess description is sounded like the last employee Peter Quint. Although there was a problem, he was apparently dead. Mrs. gorse explaining that Peter Quint had and affair with the last guviness. Somewhat later the governess sees another figure that resembles the description of the last governess.

However this time she is not alone, one of the children is with her now, Flora. But rather than paying attention to the figure in the distance she ignores it. It must have been a ghost she thought to herself. This act made the governess suspicious weather the children know about the ghosts and what do the ghosts want? The story becomes more and more thrilling as the children become more secretive. Now she is wondering if she should leave or uncover the truth. At first the novel might sound like an ordinary ghost story.

From the beginning might seem like a pretty straight forward story. However there are some things that make it quite interesting. After all it is a horror novel, so some chapters where more intense than others. Some parts were straight up scary. The whole setting and the plot brought a lot of mystery and horror with it. The novel was peaceful at start but got more intense as the story progressed. You can clearly see that death is a major theme while reading, and especially what happens after death. Another thing that is very interesting is offocurse the children. Miles is particularly interesting and the governess obsession with him is quite clear. He brings another level of mystery to the plot in my opinion.

Both of the children act strange that is no secret, but just how strange? I get a feeling like they are not real children. Miles for instance is around ten years old but I get the feeling that he is alot older? There is something strange with the both of them and you just keep reading to hopefully find out what. Another thing that i noticed was that the governess was the only one who saw the “ghosts”throughout the novel. Could it be that the ghosts are only a part of her imagination? Regardless the novel is interesting and is open for a lot of different interpretations. Even though the language was difficult, the book was still educational.

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The Thrilling Atmosphere of the Henry James’ Horror Novel The Turn off the Screw. (2020, December 28). WritingBros. Retrieved May 29, 2024, from
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