This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Contradiction In The Turn Of The Screw By Henry James

1079 words - 4 pages

The Turn of the Screw, a ghost story novella by Henry James, was first published in 1898. It is described as a masterpiece in storytelling, and because of how it creates an atmosphere of terror; it is considered a central text in the horror genre. The story is about a guest named Douglas reading to other guests a story from a written record. An unknown narrator remembers some friends gathering at an old house to listen to one another’s ghost stories, and then introduces Douglas, who tells them about a story that involves two children and a governess. As Douglas reads the story, the point of view shifts and the story is narrated by a different character. It is precisely his sister’s governess who narrates her mysterious experience in which she claims she has a ghost encounter.
The manipulation of point of view through the narrators is what makes this novella a masterpiece; James’s use of point of view not only alters the scheme of a traditional ghost story but also connotes an effort to involve the reader in the story in order to question the narrator’s reliability. As said above, a first narrator introduces the reader to the story as well as explains the nature of it through a character named Douglas, but it is the presence of a second narrator what establishes a difficulty to the reader. The interior voice of the manuscript, so to speak, embodied in the figure of the governess, makes problematically decide whether the apparitions are real or mere delusions. This is because the governess' point of view does not provide conclusive evidence about her experience; hence, the conflict remains a mystery and open to the interpretation of the reader.
Throughout the story two first-person narrators can be distinguished: an unknown narrator and the governess. The unknown narrator stands for the figure of the narrative voice that introduces Douglas’s story, but also for the figure of the implied author; he tells the reader the origin of the story (its background) and functions as a first narrative point of view in the novella. A fact easily identifiable since the beginning of the novella when it can be seen the interest of the implied author in differentiating Douglas’s story from a naive story told by the fire:
This I took for a sign that he had himself something to produce and that we should only have to wait […] He had broken a thickness of ice, the formation of many a winter; had had his reasons for a long silence. The others resented postponement, but it was just his scruples that charmed me […] “The story will tell,” I took upon myself to reply […] “The outbreak,” I returned, “will make a tremendous occasion of Thursday night;” and everyone so agreed with me that, in the light of it, we lost all attention for everything else. (James 3-7)
In the previous quotation it can be observed that the implied author is “charmed” by a story that has not been told yet, but only introduced, to the point of taking “upon himself to reply”, as if Douglas's story...

Find Another Essay On Contradiction in The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

718 words - 3 pages The Turn of the Screw This novel was, surprisingly, interesting. The intensely complex and intricate (if not confusing!) sentences, upon first thought, made me expect an experience of complete, utter, and total confusion; however, they served not only to keep my interest in the novel – for I had to concentrate to grasp the full, rich meaning of his thoughts – but also to create in me a sense of enjoyment, that of being enriched with the

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

1771 words - 8 pages The Turn of the Screw by Henry James is a gothic novel about two kids verses their governess, who is possibly experiencing the supernatural or who is insane. How is she insane one might ask? There is a controversy between the governess actually experiencing the supernatural and the kids are aware of it or the governess is completely insane. In the beginning of the novel, the two kids, Flora and Miles, were introduced as these unusual kids. Flora

Finding Meaning in The Turn of The Screw, by Henry James

3015 words - 12 pages     At first glance, Bly appears to be a rather lonely place. The vividly bleak backdrop for The Turn of the Screw houses a handful of servants, two orphaned children, and ghosts who fade in and out of view. But there are others present who are less obtrusive yet just as influential as Peter Quint and Miss Jessel. Peering into and out of Bly's windows and mirrors, engaging with the text and the lingering trace of author Henry James, a

Turn of the screw by henry jam

1111 words - 4 pages Turn of the Screw by: Henry James After reading "The Turn of the Screw", by Henry James, I was left with many unanswered questions. The two main questions are, are the ghosts in the story real, or are they just figments of the narrator's imagination? When I read though the essays of criticism, I took a stand on one particular argument. I took a stand that supports the argument that the ghosts are real.In this story we see many strange things

Youth by Henry James and The Turn of the Screw by Joseph Conrad- Vanderbilt

1163 words - 5 pages Two Youths, Two TonesYouth is the most important time in a person's life. What happens during that time shapes what you will be like for the rest of your life. This small fraction of time serves as the core of what the rest of life is based around and is, for many, the best part life. In Youth by Henry James and The Turn of the Screw by Joseph Conrad, there are two main characters in the prime of their lives. The positions of responsibility

Marxist Interpretation of The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

797 words - 3 pages OPINION: GHOSTS REAL Interpreting The Turn of the Screw by Henry James from a Marxist point of view brings about serious social class distinctions and consequences of violation within that code. Miles and the unnamed Governess’ relationship demonstrate the wrongdoing of social and legal norms. The Governess’ indeterminate social status leave her as a forbidden woman in Victorian society taking on the role of primary caretaker to children

Gender Criticism and The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

1556 words - 6 pages others. Everything is basically relative and is what each separate person perceives it to be, just as the answers to the infinite questions posed by The Turn of the Screw. Works Cited Burrows, Stuart. “The Place of a Servant in the Scale.” Nineteenth-Century Literature, Vol. 63, No. 1 (June 2008), pp. 73-103. Web. James, Henry. The Turn of the Screw. 2nd ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2004. Print. Robbins, Bruce. “They don’t much count, do they?”: The Unfinished History of The Turn of the Screw.”

Ambiguous Issues: Throughout the Turn of the Screw by Henry James

1965 words - 8 pages Throughout The turn of the Screw by Henry James, the theme of ambiguous issues is constantly leaving the reader on their own. The ambiguity and uncertainty within this text causes the readers to come up with their own theories as to what the text really means. The ghost story perspective only adds to the infuriating vagueness. The title itself is about all of the twists within this story and basically foreshadows the confusion that the text

The Representation of Tone in The Turn of the Screw by Henery James

977 words - 4 pages The tone of a novel is defined as a way for the author to express his/her attitude toward such story elements as characters, setting, or situation. Tone is present in every novel any author’s writes, as it is this literary device that sets the mood of the story for the reader. Henry James uses tone very effectively in the novel, The Turn of the Screw. The story begins with a joyful and dreamy mood to frightening and furious in the middle and

Is Henry James' The turn of the Screw a traditional ghost story?

1386 words - 6 pages Is Henry James' The turn of the Screw a traditional ghost story? Ghost stories are found way back in history, some dating back to the Victorian times. The Victorians were known to be greatly interested in ghosts and the supernatural and showed this fascination through telling ghost stories. The telling of ghost stories was used as a way of entertainment especially around Christmas time and it was also very common for upper class

The major themes, ideas, and characterisations between Henry James' "The Turn of the Screw" and Tim Burton's "Edward Scissorhands"

1520 words - 6 pages At first glance, it would appear that Henry James' "The Turn of the Screw" and Tim Burton's "Edward Scissorhands" have only one thing in common: they are both from the gothic genre. But upon looking closer, one will notice that there are a number of other similar traits between the two. There are noticeable similarities between Edward and the Governess, as well as similarities between Edward and the two children in The Turn of the Screw, Miles

Similar Essays

Turn Of The Screw By Henry James

1106 words - 4 pages Turn of the Screw by: Henry James After reading 'The Turn of the Screw';, by Henry James, I was left with many unanswered questions. The two main questions are, are the ghosts in the story real, or are they just figments of the narrator's imagination? When I read though the essays of criticism, I took a stand on one particular argument. I took a stand that supports the argument that the ghosts are real. In this story we see many strange things

Henry James' The Turn Of The Screw

1719 words - 7 pages Henry James' The Turn of the Screw Peter G. Beidler informs us that there have been “hundreds” of analyses of Henry James’ spine-tingling novella, The Turn of the Screw (189). Norman Macleod suggests that James himself seems to be “an author intent on establishing a text that cannot be interpreted in a definite way” (Qtd in Beidler 198). Yet, the vast majority of analyses of The Turn of the Screw seem to revolve around two sub-themes: the

The Turn Of The Screw By Henry James

1765 words - 7 pages How far does The Turn of the Screw conform to the conventions of the Victorian ghost story genre? What alternative interpretations does it lend itself to? ‘The Turn of the Screw’ was written by Henry James in the nineteenth century, when the belief that living people were in contact with the dead was prevalent. In the Victorian era the advance of science was undermining religious beliefs, because evolutionists were saying that the

The Turn Of The Screw By Henry James

2509 words - 10 pages Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw is a metacritical novella that has caused a plethora of debates among critics over decades of time since 1898 due to the multiplicity in perceptions in regards to the connection between the frame and the narrative. These discussions revolved around the pivotal notion of the ghosts and their existence in the home of Bly, which, when established, serves as a basis for the interpretation of the role of the frame