Expository Essay: Turn of the Screw

Topics: Narrator, Unreliable narrator, Narrative Pages: 3 (924 words) Published: December 10, 2011
Jonathan Shamama
Prof. Kimberley
English 110
* An Unreliable Narrator
* The never-ending question about the novella “The Turn of the Screw” is if the governess actually sees the ghosts she claims to have seen. The article “Narrative Games: The Frame of The Turn of the Screw” provides support from experts on narrations, that the governess is not a reliable narrator. Henry James ends The Turn of the Screw with and ambiguous and a wide-open closing scene. The open-endedness leaves us with unanswered questions and what really happened. Is the whole story even the original story? Is this a newly revised edition, edited by Douglas to fulfill a promise? From the article put together by Jeff Williams, we will see that the governess is not a reliable source and that this was not the original story. * Edmund Wilson, in his work “The Ambiguity of Henry James,” “finds the governess to be an example of Freudian psychology and repression, as well as psychosexual delusions” (pg 43). Proof of this is that the governess’ initial reaction to what the children, Miles and Flora do, is interpreted as a sexual act. She blames Peter Quint for ruining the young minds of these children by revealing them to disturbing and sexual things. Her sanity proves to be unstable, and we can’t rely on an insane narrator. * The open-endedness of the novella may be a reflection of the insanity of the governess and her reliability. The way James ends his story, with such an abrupt closing scene that mentions the death of Miles and his final words cursing Peter Quint. The reader is left with unanswered questions. Brenda Murphy states that due to the lack of crucial details, the story is left wide open for the interpreter to interpret the story themselves (pg 44). Dieter Fruendlieb makes a similar point that the person reading the story interprets it in his own way based on his or her “knowledge frames.” “Every text is encountered by the frame of the interpreter”, meaning the...
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