A Nineteenth Century Ghost Story in The Turn of The Screw by Henry James

A Nineteenth Century Ghost Story in The Turn of The Screw by Henry James

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A Nineteenth Century Ghost Story in The Turn of The Screw by Henry James

The Turn of The Screw is a classic Gothic ghost novella with a wicket
twist set in a grand old house at Bly. The story is ambiguous; we
never fully know whether the apparitions exist or not and we are left
with many more questions than answers.

The Governess is left in charge of two young children, Miles and
Flora, of whom she later becomes obsessed with, describing them as
'angelic'. She has no contact with her employer from London, the
children's enigmatic uncle once there, sparking suspicions of the
children being unwanted. The anonymous Governess' obsessive nature is
taken to another level, with the darker side of Bly appearing. Her
sanity is called into question with her continued revelations of
apparitions around the family's country residence. The story itself
could not have had a bigger twist in it, from being overwhelmed by the
beauty and innocence of the two orphans under he care to being
convinced that ghosts of her predecessor and the master's former
valet, Miss Jessel and Peter Quint, both who die in mysterious
circumstances, have come to possess the souls of her charges. The
Governess begins to take ever more desperate measures to protect them,
but is it enough?

A typical Gothic story in many respects, The Turn of the Screw
conforms to our expectations by sharing many key features, style and
themes typical to nineteenth century horror fiction. A gothic story is
a type of romantic fiction that predominated in English Literature in
the last third of the 18th century and the first two decades of the 19th
century. The setting for this type of st...

... middle of paper ...

...riously wrong
with her.

Taking all of these points into account all of these points, I am sure
that you now agree that The Turn of the Screw is a typical 19th
century gothic ghost story. The story itself has many characteristics
typical of a gothic story and it is based around two apparitions,
which is a necessity in any ghost story. Gothic stories were very
popular during this period due to Darwin's book, 'The Origin of
Species' which hugely questioned Christian beliefs. People were no
longer sure of religion, and became very superstitious, with Ghost
stories becoming very popular. They had always thought god came first;
now science was starting to take over. In the 19th century people were
unsure about what was real in the world. The Victorians did not know
what to believe about in their world and spirituality.

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