Meaningful Quotations from Turn of the Screw

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  • Topic: Henry James, Love
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Meaningful Quotations:
Quote 2-3 passages that you really connect with. Include the page number found in parentheses. Explain what makes those quotations/passages so meaningful to you. All quotes are from Henry James' Turn of the Screw.

"It was all the romance of the nursery and the poetry of the schoolroom." (26) This quote is said by the governess, about the relationship between her and the children, Miles and Flora. This simple sentence reveals a lot about how the governess feels about Miles and Flora. The words "romance" and "poetry" bring to mind happy, wistful thoughts. It is clear from this sentence that the governess really, truly loves the children, even though she hardly knows them. I really liked this quote because it appeared so early in the book (and so early in the governess' care of the children) yet it is clear how much she cares for Miles and Flora, and sets the stage for how protective she is of them later on, when Quint and Miss Jessel appear. "We lived in a cloud of music and affection and success and private theatricals." (63)

This quote is also by the governess, describing her life with the children. Again, it's a whimsical quote, strange at this point in the novel because the ghosts have already appeared and begun to stalk the children. I really liked this quote as well because it sets the reader at ease, dispelling some of the terror from the ghosts. It makes it seem like everything is alright in the world, that nothing is wrong at all. It makes Bly seem like quite an enjoyable place, with happy people living in the clouds so to speak. "I was so determined to have all my proof that I flashed into ice to challenge him. ‘Whom do you mean by ‘he'?' ‘Peter Quint—you devil!'" (144)

This quote is the final conversation between Miles and the governess, just before Miles' death. I picked it because Miles' response is very ambiguous, and because it ends the book but still leaves a mystery. The governess was trying to get a confession from...
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