Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw is written with one clear and true ending where Miles dies and the readers are left to guess the rest for themselves. Or is it? Right from the prologue, a reader may assume that Miles and Douglas are indeed the same person, but when the reader sees, “and his little heart, dispossessed, had stopped.” P.403 one dismisses that theory as lost, but it isn’t. Perhaps one ignore the idea because of many unclear allusions to discrepancies. James’ use of deliberate vagueness was intended to create a second plausible ending.
One may ask, how is it possible that Douglas and Miles are the same person if Miles died? James described that Miles’ heart had stopped. But there are two ways to interpret this, that Miles actually died or that the possessed heart belonging to Miles ceased to beat and he still lives on in years to come as Douglas. It is possible that only a figurative part of Miles died that day. When James uses the word “heart” he may mean several things: that the spirit of the boy, the essence of him, has ceased to go on, perhaps that the heart of the specter possessing him had died or maybe that they boy’s heart stopped with fright. It’s all in how one interprets the word heart. Since it’s the last sentence of the book, James divulges no more information.
James gives us little information regarding the life of Douglas, and his relationship to the governess. During the prologue, Douglas mentions that he was coming home from school when he met the love of his life. “I was at Trinity, and I found her at home on my coming down the second summer.” (p. 293) This could possibly be the summer when he was expelled from school and found his sister’s new governess. “She was a most charming person, but she was ten years older than I. She was my sister's governess.”(p. 293) He refers to the governess as his sister’ and since the governess was mainly intended for his sister it doesn’t make it unlikely that Douglas would describe the...
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