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The Turn of the Screw Research Paper

  • Date Submitted: 04/25/2010 07:40 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 53.5 
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In The Turn of the Screw, the children suffer because of the governess’s insanity, caused by her unexpressed love for the master. Because the master is not impressed by her ordinary course of governessing, she believes that she must stage a life-threatening danger to the children, so she can appear as a hero when she rescues them; in turn, winning the master’s love and affection. “It is her master’s curiously absent status, coupled with the governess’s unrequited love for him, which drives the young woman to her hallucinations” (Poquette 1). She figures the danger must be dreadful, for the master told her he did not want to be bothered with incidents dealing with the children. “That she should never trouble him—but never, never: neither appeal nor complain nor write about anything; only meet all questions herself, receive all moneys from his solicitor, take the whole thing over and let him alone” (James 290). She believes she is actually protecting Miles and Flora against an outside evil, which happens to coincide with her drive to demonstrate heroism and devotion to the master.
One of the governess’s troubles is keeping her secret love for the master bundled inside. Says Goddard, “a young woman, falls in love and circumstances forbid the normal growth and confession of the passion, the emotion, dammed up, overflows in a psychical experience, a daydream” (Poquette 2). In the prologue, Douglas gave a detailed account of the master from the governess’s point of view. She regarded him as, “handsome and bold and pleasant, offhand and gay and kind. He struck her, inevitably, as gallant and splendid” (James 287). Later on we learn from Douglas that the governess accepted the job at Bly for the master’s sake, and of course the generous salary offered by the master. Without any experience, the governess’s passions for the master supported her to accept the job and confirmed her decision to take the challenge. “The moral of which was of course the seduction exercised by...

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