Although some believe that the governess is hallucinating as a result of her love for her employer and obsession with protecting the children, this is incorrect. In fact, the governess protects the children from the real and malignant ghosts present on the Bly estate. The governess even describes one of her interactions with Miles as, “It was like fighting with a demon for a human soul” (120). Another argument someone could propose would be the fact that every description of Miles’ interactions with ghosts are from the governess. However, if someone like Mrs. Grose who has known Miles longer than any of us believes the governess, why shouldn’t we?
Flora being possessed by Miss Jessel’s ghost wasn’t nearly as evident as Miles being possessed by Peter Quint. Miles’ past relationship with Quint was strange to begin with. Why was a young child, “covering and concealing” (James, 52), his relationship with a grown man? Mrs. Grose explains to the governess that, “when he had gone off with the fellow, I mean, and spend hours with him” (James, 52). Mrs. Grose also explains that, “for a period of several months Quint and the boy had been perpetually together” (James, 51). The use of the word “perpetually” is quite interesting since it means “everlasting” and Quint’s presence was still felt around Miles even after his deat...
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... I did know” (James, 121). Holding Miles tight to protect him from the ghost outside, the governess, “caught him, yes, I held him – it may be imagined with what a passion; but at the end of a minute I began to feel what it truly was that I held. We were alone with the quiet day, and his little heart, dispossessed, had stopped” (James, 125). Miles’s young, possessed body died in the governess’ obsessive yet caring arms.
When Mrs. Grose described Peter Quint as, “a hound” (James, 47), because of his history with Miss Jessel. She also says that “he did what he wished” (James, 47), which sounds an awful like Miles and his flirting with the much older governess who he calls “my dear” (James, 79). Clearly the governess’ efforts to save Miles weren’t enough. Throughout the entire story the governess suspected there were ghosts on the Bly estate and she was right all along.
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