Things are Not What they Seem to Be in Henry James’s The Turn of The Screw

Things are Not What they Seem to Be in Henry James’s The Turn of The Screw

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Hidden subjects, the corruption of innocence, gender, and the destructiveness of heroism, can all be argued to be the main theme of The Turn of The Screw but only one can really bring the truest theme out of the story by Henry James. Many argue that there is no theme, or more than one but I believe that Forbidden subjects is truly the source that really captures what the story is all about. We can easily come to this conclusion by looking at the items in the story and piecing them together. For example, the young male child named Miles suddenly gets kicked out of school, but the reason for the expulsion is never uncovered. As the story continues, there are more questions and mysteries that never become revealed, which I believe is the entire purpose as to why James wrote this; to simply leave us puzzled as a crossword. Yes, the other themes are well organized and presentable, but they are not the underlying theme that James is trying to convey. James skillfully incites the reader’s anxieties by arousing the psychological mechanisms of the horror of the unknown. Without the forbidden objects in the story, it would just be another ghost tale with no mystery. That is why I firmly believe that hidden objects and solving mysteries are the main and most important theme to Henry James’s “The Turn of The Screw”.
Many critics have backed up the forbidden objects theme, but have also declined the opinion of it being the main theme in the story. Some say the story has multiple or no themes at all but how can that be when writers have the purpose of their story already planned out in their head before it is ever published or on shelves. Writers like Henry James put items and questions into their work for a reason, and us being the reade...


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Works Cited

"Turn of the Screw--Character Analysis." THE CHARACTERS in Turn of the Screw. n. page. Print.

Chandler, Otis. "The Turn of the Screw Quotes." Goodreads Inc. (2013): n. page. Print.

Davis, Marion. "Literary Analysis: Turn of the Screw." StudentPulse. VOL. 1.NO.11 (2009): n. page. Print.

James, Henry. "The Turn of the Screw by Henry James." Project Gutenberg EBook of The Turn of the Screw, by Henry James. (2008): n. page. Print. .

Joseph, Mary. "The Turn of the Screw: Case Studies in Contemporary Criticism (review)." Project Muse . Volume 18.Number 1 (1997): n. page. Print.

Lundquist, Molly. "The Turn of the Screw." LitLovers. (2011): n. page. Print.

Smith, Nicole. "Critical Analysis of “Turn of the Screw” by Henry James with Literary Crticism in Context." Articlemyriad. (2011): 1-4. Print.

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