The Turn of the Screw; Ghost Story or Ramblings of a Crazy Woman?

Topics: Henry James, Ghost, Ghost story Pages: 3 (1090 words) Published: April 10, 2011
The ghost story is a long standing tradition in many cultures dating back thousands of years. Still to this day, people gather around camp fires or in dark rooms with flash lights and try to tell the scariest and creepiest ghost stories just for the thrill of the fright. However, sometimes we may wonder if the stories are really about the ghosts themselves, or the insanity of the characters. “The Turn of the Screw” by Henry James is a story that has raised that very question by many of its readers. Some believe that the ghosts are all a figment of the governess’s imagination, while others believe that the ghosts are real and are there to continue their duties they had in life and protect the children. We never know for sure which angle is true, for Henry James took all the answers with him to the grave. The twists and turns throughout the whole story leave us guessing right up until the end. Opinions differ on whether the governess is really seeing ghosts, or has completely lost her mind. I believe that both interpretations are correct in their own ways. The readers of “The Turn of the Screw” have interpreted this story in many different ways. One of the popular theories is that the ghosts are all in the Governess’s head. Of all the characters in the story, she is the only one we know for certain can see the ghosts. She explains the sighting to Mrs. Grose who seems to believe her at first; however, after the episode at the lake with Flora, she appears to have changed her opinion and fears for the safety of the children; not from the ghosts, but from the Governess. No matter how many times the Governess asks, the children claim to not see them. Throughout the story it is never mentioned that the children make eye contact with the ghosts, regardless of how many times they are mentioned. The most critical of these sightings would be the one at the very end. The Governess claims to see Peter Quint standing outside the window and goes into hysterics....
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