Henry James was one of the famous writers during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He was known as an innovative and independent novelist. One of James' novels, The Turn of the Screw (1898), has caused a lot of controversy among many critics, and each of them has had a particular interpretation. James' creative writing built a close connection between his novel and his readers. The reactions of the readers toward The Turn of the Screw can be researched psychologically by analyzing how James developed his story using questionable incidents, an unreliable narrator, unexpected changes, an interesting prologue, and effective images and words.
The influences of James's writing on his readers can be explained clearly from a psychological perspective. Readers have their individual perceptions and experiences which are defined as ego. Sigmund Freud pointed out that under the effects of the external world, the ego starts to react in various forms such as storing, adapting, learning, or fighting against external events (2). The external world includes all the things happening outside human minds such as activities in real life, in movies or in books. When readers react to the behaviors of the Governess and other characters in The The Turn of the Screw, it means their ego responds to the story that is the external world in this case. Since the perception and experiences of each person are different from the other, the reactions to this novel are varied. Moreover, James's story was written in a very sophisticated way, which is likely to lead to complex reactions.
Henry James skillfully has his readers integrated into his story. While the readers are reading T...
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James, Henry. "The Turn of the Screw". The Turn of the Screw and Other Short Novels. New York: New American Library, 1995.
Luckacher, Ned. "'Hanging Fire': The Primal Scene of The Turn of the Screw." Henry James's Daisy Miller, The Turn of the Screw, and Other Tales:. Ed. Horold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House Publisher, 1987. 117-132.
Nunning, Ansgar. "Unreliable Narrator." Encyclopedia of the Novel. Ed. Paul Schellinger. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 1998. 1386-1388.
Wagenknecht, Edward. The Tales of Henry James. New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1984.
---. Seven Masters of Supernatural Fiction. New York: Greenwood Press, 1991.
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