Essay on The Turn of the Screw

Essay on The Turn of the Screw

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The Turn of the Screw


"I must take my horrid plunge" from the opening line sets the tone of
the passage. The novel's gothic form is revealed very early on in the
passage. There is a distinctive differentiation between horror and
terror derived from the studies of Radcliffe. "Terror" is when one
induces to action and "horror" is when one is "powerless" and
"freezes" as a result of it. The Governess' horrid plunge is a forced
action, as she is powerless to combat the supernatural forces that
oppose her. The gothic tone is intensified by strong language and a
series of effective individual words, aiming to build up a sense of
fear and insecurity for the reader. "Shrouded", "dangerous", "dread"
are among other words that are used for effect in this passage. James
has introduced us to this passage very well, as we are able to
understand how the governess feels. We have a sense that her world is
"godless", a world of no social hierarchy. From a Freudian point of
view, the governess is going through a kind of self- administered
psychoanalytical therapy.

There are effective uses of language in this passage that shape the
readers' interpretations. "Push my way through it" builds up
expectation. It promotes violence in a mild undertone making the
reader eager to read on. "Cold touch" and "soft breath" give a sense
of haunting and supernatural presence. These words are tangible - they
personify the source of the governess's fear. In "Sequestered home" a
strong notion of isolation and loneliness is presented and;
accompanying these emotions we are presented with "draping curtains".
This raises ambiguity and an uncertain presence. This strong
descriptive language gives us a feeling of the place and its gothic
a...


... middle of paper ...


...o. The first
paragraph sets the scene as it creates terror and prepares the reader
for a fearful experience. The second paragraph focuses upon the main
event, in this case the appearance of Quint. The final paragraph
disperses the tension. The figure of Quint disappears and the pace of
the encounter dies. The pace that is created mainly in the second
paragraph is crafted by the use of hypo-taxis earlier.

Having analysed the passage in detail, one can say that this is a
sensationalist piece of writing. There is a general feeling of
intimate knowledge mixed with a state of excitement. James' enhanced
literary techniques influence the views of the readers in a
significant way. Throughout the passage, there is evidence of rich
descriptive language and literary devices that intensify the feeling
of dread and a sense of ambiguity crucial to James' purposes.

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