“The Turn of the Screw is essentially an ambivalent text. Its narrative prompts divergent, even opposite readings, but does not reconcile them. What happens remains irrevocably uncertain” The former recorded statement will be debated to establish its validity, in addition to doing so it shall be illustrated my means of closely analysis the text as well as referring to a key passage within the novella.
In order to debate the statement provided it is firstly important to determine whether or not The Turn of the Screw is in fact an ambivalent text. This will be established by means of critically analysing the novella nonetheless, it is possible to agree with the statement provided after reading The Turn of the Screw. The term ambivalent- having mixed feelings about someone or something- can be considered an appropriate term to describe the novella as it helps the reader come to terms with the text. A brief outline of the story tells us of a tale in which a young woman is hired as a governess to take care of a gentleman’s seemingly innocent nephew and niece. As the Tale progresses we learn that the governess begins seeing ghosts one of which being he predecessor Miss Jessel.
In an attempt to make sense of the ambivalence within The Turn of the Screw it is vital to first illustrate such ambivalence within the text itself. The first example being whether or not the governess actually sees ghosts and if not are they are a mere figment of her imagination. Important to note here is the fact that the governess serves as both narrator and protagonist. This raises uncertainty as the ghosts are only visible to her throughout the text, therefore leaving us as readers with mixed feelings as to the credibility of the governess as a narrator. With close reference to the following passage an attempt shall be made to indicate how the texts narrative prompts divergent and even opposite readings.
“The day was grey enough, but the afternoon light still lingered, and it enabled me, on crossing the threshold , not only to recognise, on a chair near the wide window, then closed, the articles I wanted, but to become aware of a person on the other side of the window and looking straight in. One step into the room had sufficed; my vision was instantaneous; it was all there. The person looking straight in was the person who had already appeared to me. He appeared thus again with I won’t say greater distinctness, for that was impossible, but with a nearness that represented a forward stride in our intercourse and made me, as I met him, catch my breath and turn cold. He was the same – he was the same, and seen, this time, as he had been seen before, from the waist up, the window, though the dining room was on the ground floor, not going down to the terrace on which he stood. His face was close to the glass, yet the effect of his better view was, strangely, only to show me how intense the former had been. He remained but a few seconds – long enough to...