The Importance of Chapter Six in The Turn of the Screw Essay

The Importance of Chapter Six in The Turn of the Screw Essay

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The Importance of Chapter Six in The Turn of the Screw

 

Chapter Six is an important section of The Turn of the Screw, as it involves many of the themes of the story, as well as reflecting its general narrative structure. James' novel is phenomenally complex; it has an incredible ambiguity to it, which allows for some very outlandish and far-fetched ideas to be formulated. A 'theme' can almost be drawn from almost every other sentence, if one so desires. It is deciding which issues have a little more to them than there may seem at first and which are what they appear, nothing more, which is difficult. As with many books of its ilk, over-analysing is a serious essay writing hazard.

 

To take things one aspect at a time, and to begin with the narrative structure. Whilst not exactly a key issue' of the story, the narrative structure can often inŸuence how those issues are revealed and detailed to readers, so still holds some relevance to the essay title. Chapter Six' overall structure is very similar to that of the story as a whole. It begins quietly, after the climax at the end of the previous chapter (as with the main part of The Turn of the Screw after the prologue, which creates a great deal of anticipation) and begins to increase in tension slowly throughout, with a slight lull in the middle, where the narrative becomes very reŸective and introspective, with the Governess writing her thoughts seemingly as they enter her head, creating a somewhat rambling, dense prose. Finally, when readers are least expecting it, the plot suddenly leaps into view once again, creating an exciting žnale ("Then I again shifted my eyes - I faced what I had to face.•) which leaves many plot threads open to inter...


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... - a Gothic story. This is most evident when Miss Jessel appears across the lake. This is a particularly Gothic image, made all the more vivid in the following chapter, when she is described as "a žgure of quite as unmistakable horror and evil: a woman in black, pale and dreadful.• In retrospect, this makes the end of Chapter Six seem even more Gothic.

 

Chapter Six reŸects many of the key issues of the story, more so than most chapters. However, The Turn of the Screw is a very intense book, and every sentence seems to have hints of some deeper, darker deliberation on the part of James' writing. It is not unusual in this story to have a single chapter that contains a great deal of important information and relevance to the rest of the book - Chapter Six does tend to explore more issues in such a short space than other sections of the story, however.

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