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Turn of the Screw by Henry James, Arthur Conan Doyle and Henry David Thoreau

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Throughout the Turn of the Screw, by Henry James, ambiguity is used purposely in respect to the reality of the ghosts. Without certainty the reader must guess and assume in order to determine if the ghosts are real or if they are conjured in the governess's mind. In this book there is more proof for the imagination of the ghosts. One source of evidence is the preparedness of the governess. At the beginning of the book the governess is being thrown into a situation that she is unprepared for. This unpreparedness was due to the life she lived before going to Bly. That life gave her little applicable experiences and leaving her always wanting attention, especially from men. Also, the governess feels the need to discredit the perfection of the children and by creating these ghosts this goal could be achieved. This need to seek a man’s attention and discredit the children suggests that the governess was never sane and imagined the ghosts.
When the governess entered Bly, she was a naïve country girl who was young. Up until that point, she led a “small, smothered life” (Chapter 3, page 1), which is not the type of life she wanted. That type of life had its insecurities. She always was worried about appearances, especially her’s. The governess always “expect[s] to come upon” (Chapter 13, page 2) a man who will judge her immediately based on her looks. This belief leads the governess to always be concerned about the way she is being perceived. Whether it be by Mrs. Grose, the children, the ghosts, or the master she desires to know their opinions. In particular, the master offers something to the governess that she has longed for. He offers her society. In her life with her “brothers and sisters and… cat and... dog at home”(Chapter...

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...overness’s self-esteem, because she was the same gender as the governess. Miles, on the other hand, went through things that the governess could not have because of the gender difference. Once the ignominious nature of the ghosts is applied to the children, they become less and less perfect in the governess’s eyes.
Overall, the governess was not fit to be in charge of the children. Her life did not prepare her for this job, especially the stress it came with. The added pressure, which she was not used to, that being a governess caused her to be “off her guard”(Chapter 3, page 2). Her desire to make herself look better than the children, also creates doubts about the sanity of the governess. In all the desire for attention from men and a need to discredit the children implies that governess is driven to create the ghosts in her head.

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Turn of the screw
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