Schizophrenia is a mental illness most commonly associated with hallucinations. People with severe schizophrenia cannot tell what is real from what is not. Schizophrenia symptoms begin developing around the ages of 16-30, and can be triggered by highly stressful situations and more often surfaces during times when the body is undergoing hormonal and physical changes like those that occur during teen and young adult years. Symptoms of schizophrenia may include, but are not limited to, hallucinations, delusions, depression, withdraw from family, friends, and social events, and poor executive functioning, such as the ability to understand information and use it to make decisions. The Governess exhibits many of these symptoms (“Schizophrenia Symptoms…” WebMd.com)
The book begins with a group partygoers telling ghost stories around a fire on Christmas Eve, a man named Griffin had finished his tale and the guests were discussing it when Douglas comments about the nature of the ghost interacting with a child. He replies “If the child gives the effect another turn of the screw, what do you say to t...
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... her uncle and the Governess is alone with Miles. She questions him about a missing letter, and when Miles admits to taking it, a hallucination of Peter Quint appears through the window. The Governess jumps up and holds Miles closely. The governess holds him and describes that “his little heart, dispossessed, had stopped,” (James 87). This final psychotic event depicts the Governess hallucinating the ‘ghost’ of Peter Quint, and one final delusion, Miles heart stopping.
The Governess displays symptoms of a severe psychological disorder. Unfortunately, she lives during a time when not much was known about psychology, and less known about how to treat them. Whether or not the ‘ghosts’ are real, the governess still displays symptoms of a psychological disorder. Though, throughout the novel, James portrays the Governess as suffering from a relentless case of schizophrenia.
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