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Literary Analysis

  • Date Submitted: 05/02/2012 11:39 AM
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David Fan
Professor Foret
Writing 102
4/28/12
There are often various ways that an author chooses to portray a story.   By telling a story within a story, an author can draw attention to the narrator’s unreliability.   It also has the effect of positioning the reader’s attitude towards the tale that is being told.   Henry James uses this method of telling the story in the The Turn of the Screw in order to create ambiguity with the character of the Governess.   As a person continues to read through the book, the question of the Governess’ reliability arises.   Through examining the importance of the introduction, the behaviors of the Governess and the gradual change of her personality, it is obvious that what she says can’t be completely trusted which makes the Governess an unreliable narrator.  
Often times, people that read the book probably focus on the Governess’ story a lot more instead of the introduction because the majority of the book consists of the story told by the Governess in the first person.   The fact that this novel is a frame story means that the introduction plays just as big a role as the rest of the story.   A lot of interesting information can be found in Douglas’s own story and the circumstances in which he tells the story.   The beginning of the story starts off by describing a gathering of several vacationing families telling ghost tales as entertainment.   The reader is not led to believe that any of these tales being told are factual. However, when Douglas offers his story, the reader is expected to understand that the Governess is narrating a true account.   The fact that the ghost tale is put down in words definitely gives Douglas’s story more credibility but Henry James does this to implement the idea that the story is actually real so when things do seem to get out of hand in the story, the reliability of the Governess comes into question.  
One of the biggest indicators that the Governess’ story may not be told in a completely accurate...

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