Marxist Interpretation of The Turn of the Screw by Henry James Essays

Marxist Interpretation of The Turn of the Screw by Henry James Essays

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OPINION: GHOSTS REAL

Interpreting The Turn of the Screw by Henry James from a Marxist point of view brings about serious social class distinctions and consequences of violation within that code. Miles and the unnamed Governess’ relationship demonstrate the wrongdoing of social and legal norms. The Governess’ indeterminate social status leave her as a forbidden woman in Victorian society taking on the role of primary caretaker to children, while Miles embodies the character of the absent master to whom the Governess feels intimately attracted. Mile’s union with rebellious, symbol of threat, Peter Quint, ultimately possesses him and lead to the breakdown of the social hierarchy. The Governess and Mile’s connection display the inappropriate boundary crossed between professional duties and desirable futures as a sexually active individual. Through the two characters moments alone, the rising apprehensions end in the governess’s infringement of social status as she employs to a mysterious sexual relationship with Miles.
Marxist criticism leaves society thinking that dominant classes overpower social order. However, its goal is to present ideas of changing social realities, so future generations will know all people are important and equal. During the Victorian period, a Governess was faced with contradictory burdens leaving them uneasy with status imbalance. The governess is uncomfortable with the fact that she could be similar to the servants/ghosts, because she still feels that she is above them socially. Her desire to break out of the class structure, yet her inability to do so, shows her dependence on the structure. From her first moments at Bly or the “castle of romance”, she instantly feels the conflict between her emotional...


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...y the governess brings him up, but also to “all the rest.” These equivocal words refer to the initiation to sex by the governess, which is reinforced by Mile’s pointing out that she “knows what a boy wants!” After Mrs. Grose and Flora leave Bly, the two are once again alone, faced with a tyrannical and silent environment leaving the governess thinking they epitomize “some young couple…on their wedding night.”
James clearly resists historical interpretation which would fill in the blanks with knowledge on social groups. Yet, through analysis of the Governess and Mile’s relationship by placing their narration and dialogue in a socio-historic context the battle is revealed between desires and demands. Awareness of Victorian sexual commencement allows readers to trace the development of the two characters transformations from pupil and teacher to lover and mistress.

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