The Turn Of The Screw By Henry James Essay

The Turn Of The Screw By Henry James Essay

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When facing the truth, often the mind cannot comprehend events that are dear to you and your beliefs. In The Turn of the Screw, Henry James’s critically acclaimed novella, he presents a point of view that provides visuals and insight into the narrator’s mind. The story fundamentally deals with supernatural forces. However, through different interpretations, the reliability of the narrator can be questioned. Her own confessions thought process and concrete that is hidden by Henry James. When the book was published during the Victorian era, little to no emphasis was based on the idea of mental health. The majority of readers claimed this as a ghost story with nothing more. When researched and analyzed, it is clear that the story is a mentally ill human that is struggling to accept her surroundings and facing her realities. These realities are her mind deluding her memory, and the demons she claims to see are a projection of her inner fears.

When the governess first arrives at Bly, her incapability of realizing that these two children are not hers, led her to be defensive when threatened by the ghost she was seeing. When the governess first encountered a sighting with flora by the lake, it can be seen as an example of this. “No, for God’s sake don’t! She’ll say she isn’t – she’ll lie!” (James 157). When asked by Mrs. Grose if she should confront flora and confirm the sighting, the governess rejects this idea, because in her mind she believes that Flora is her child, she believes her motherly instinct will protect flora, but in reality, she feels Flora will reject her. Victorian women were seen just as stereotypical house mothers, who lived only to serve as caretakers. In the case of the governess, this was her livelihood, which alo...


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... and herself the most, not realizing she is the one struggling to face reality.

The classical perception of the novel on the first glance may come off as a thriller ghost story that captures the reader 's mind. However, upon further research and analyzing, the story comes off as one of mental deterioration. The entire book reread, can be interpreted entirely as a study for psychological issues that people face. Henry James successfully, and cleverly integrated a story about mental struggle; through the use of point of view prose and evidence of the symptoms that a mentally ill person would endure. To bring light to the issue of mental health, which at the time was not something the average citizen prioritized, Henry James used his characters in a way that allowed entertainment, but when carefully read, a story a mentally ill woman, fighting against her own demons.

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