Mrs.Grose as a Confidante

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 87
  • Published : January 31, 2006
Open Document
Text Preview
Henry James' "Turn of the Screw" is narrated from the governess' biased point of view. Her account of events is the only story the reader must analyze and believe. Mrs. Grose is the next most believable character. Her only shortcoming in that respect is her simple-minded innocence and her subjection to suggestion. One is forced to wonder if this character has any will or desire to think on her own, or if she was born, raised, and hired only to follow the instruction and logic of others. Mrs. Grose's agreeable nature allows the governess a great deal of power almost as if she were put into the story as an affirmation of the governess' thoughts.

Throughout the book, the depiction of Mrs. Grose is somewhat strange. On the surface there is basically nothing; however, upon closer examination a number of interesting points come to light. James rarely has Grose interact with any of the characters other than the governess; when other characters are present, the housekeeper will usually be absent. She only seems to make her appearances when the governess feels the need to discuss her suspicions. It is almost as if she is the governess' counselor - they often share their thoughts on the situation as these discussions often consume entire chapters (chapters V, XII, XVI and XXI for example) They also have a curious habit of continuing each others' sentences. An example of this is found in chapter five and it starts off with Mrs. Grose saying, "But if he is n't a gentleman –"

"What is he? He's a horror."
"A horror?"
"He's – God help me if I know what he is!" (45)
Mrs. Grose and the governess' conversations invariably progress in such a fashion, almost as if it is just one person's thoughts transcribed as a conversation between two personalities. This interpretation supports the theory that Grose is simply a personification of the governess' inner thoughts and debates and is, in fact, not a real character at all. The theme of the governess and Mrs. Grose talking as...
tracking img