The Governess in "The Turn of the Screw" Book Review

An analysis of the debate over the personality of the governess in Henry James' novel, "The Turn of the Screw" .
# 103557 | 2,581 words | 2 sources | MLA | 2008 | US
Published on May 20, 2008 in Literature (American) , English (Analysis)

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This paper analyzes the character of the governess in Henry James' novel, "The Turn of the Screw." It describes the debate about the character of the governess, regarding whether she is heroic or insane. The paper asserts that the governess is insane and that the ghosts that she witnesses are a manifestation of this insanity which is at its base, caused by the repression of her sexuality.

From the Paper:

"James departs from the Gothic tradition in the kind of audience he requires in that the implied audience for "The Turn of the Screw" is meant to be shrewd and skeptical. This is unusual considering the fact that the story that is being told is obviously a ghost story; a Gothic Romance to be precise, about a governess who falls in-love with her employer and begins to see strange apparitions around the manor that she inhabits- a plot that calls to mind other Gothic stories like Jane Eyre, and the Castle of Otranto. And in these stories, the reader is expected to suspend reason to a certain extent to be able to enjoy the story, as certain elements of these Gothic stories are, by nature, fantastic and unrealistic. But, in "The Turn of the Screw", Douglas and James expect the reader to employ reason rather than abandon it. "

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Abbott, H. Porter. The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
  • James, Henry. The Turn of the Screw. Mineola: Dover Publications, Inc, 1991.

Cite this Book Review:

APA Format

The Governess in "The Turn of the Screw" (2008, May 20) Retrieved April 10, 2020, from

MLA Format

"The Governess in "The Turn of the Screw"" 20 May 2008. Web. 10 April. 2020. <>