Protecting Miles and Flora in The Turn of the Screw Essay

Protecting Miles and Flora in The Turn of the Screw Essay

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Protecting Miles and Flora in The Turn of the Screw

“I saw my service so strongly and simply. I was there to protect and
defend the little creatures…” The governess sees it as her duty to
protect Miles and Flora. What do they need protection from and how
does Henry James illustrate this in his novel “The Turn of the Screw”?

Henry James’s ‘Turn of the Screw’ can be interpreted in many different
ways. He constructed his novel in order to make allusions to sexual
topics, (without stating anything explicitly) madness, ghosts and the
Victorian society. In this essay I will be analysing each of the above
in order to make a conclusion as to what I think the children need
protecting from.

As for the ghosts being present or not, this can be argued. A point
arguing the ghosts are present is in the introduction of the story.
The man telling the story said he knew the governess and he credits
the story with being a real ghost tale and the governess as being a
real hero. Another point suggesting the ghosts are present is that
when the governess “sees” Peter Quint she is able to go back to Mrs
Grose with a fairly full description of him, even though she had never
actually met him whilst he was alive.

Another aspect of the novel that shows the ghosts exist is the
vocabulary used to describe Miles and flora. They are called ‘cherubs’
and have religious connections made saying they are ‘angelic’. The
governess sees Flora as ‘so very remarkable’ and ‘the most beautiful
child ever seen…’. The children seem to be too perfect. Flora is
described as being the most perfect child yet so many supernatural
things occurs it is quite unbelievable that she is so very sweet and

Going onto a point suggesting the g...

... middle of paper ...

...s or over imagine, for example, when she sees
Miles looking up she instantly is convinced he is not looking at her,
but just above her and at a person and that person is Quint. Could the
governess be 100% sure that Miles was looking above her and not at

As I think the governess is mentally unstable, the next step I see her
taking is protecting her sexuality and safety. The governess produces
an “image” which is the female ghost of Miss Jessel. This allows Peter
Quint and Miss Jessel to be sexually involved and the governess
protecting herself.

This leaves me to say, that the ghosts are a part of the governesses
imagination. I think this because I do not find the governess a
reliable narrator. If anything the children need protecting from it is
from the governess and her unstability. I think this is what brought
about her unbalanced behaviour.

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