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Turn of the Screw

  • Date Submitted: 10/27/2010 11:39 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 60.8 
  • Words: 941
  • Essay Grade: no grades
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Character List

The Governess -  The protagonist of the novella, a twenty-year-old woman who has been put in charge of educating and supervising Flora and Miles at the country estate of Bly. The governess has had a very sheltered upbringing and little life experience, and her new job puts an immense responsibility on her, since she has no one to supervise or help her. She is intelligent as well as sensitive and emotionally volatile. Over the course of two short interviews with her employer, she fell in love with him, but she has no opportunity to see him or communicate with him. She is extremely protective of her charges and hopes to win her employer’s approval. She views herself as a zealous guardian, a heroine facing dark forces. However, we never know for certain whether the ghosts and visions the governess sees are real or only figments of her imagination. No one else ever admits to seeing what she sees, and her fears, at times, seem to border on insanity.

Mrs. Grose -  A servant who acts as the governess’s companion and confidante. Mrs. Grose, who is illiterate, is very aware of her low standing in comparison with the governess and treats the governess with great respect. Mrs. Grose listens patiently to the governess’s constantly changing theories and insights, most often claiming to believe her but sometimes questioning whether the ghosts may not be imaginary. The governess, however, tends to overwhelm Mrs. Grose, often finishing Mrs. Grose’s sentences or leaping to conclusions about what Mrs. Grose is saying. Thus, it can sometimes be difficult for us to judge whether Mrs. Grose is as strongly on the governess’s side as the governess thinks. Mrs. Grose cares deeply about Flora and Miles and consistently defends them against the governess’s accusations.

Miles -  A ten-year-old boy, the elder of the governess’s two charges. Miles is charming and very attractive. He seems unnaturally well behaved and agreeable for a child, never fights with his sister,...

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