Johnny's Reviews > The Turn of the Screw

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
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's review
Jul 10, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: ap-literature, fiction, female-protagonist, ghosts, books-i-ve-taught, england
Read from July 10 to 14, 2011

I picked this up anticipating teaching it this fall to my high school students. This is my first time reading a James novel in its entirety, and the spooky mystery that surrounds the plot here had me hooked immediately once the plot began to unfurl. Admittedly, this happens a few chapters into the book, as James uses the nineteenth century conceit of having one character tell the story essentially through hearsay. The unnamed governess at the center the book relates an eerie experience presiding over two young children who appear to be under the influence of two ghostly characters that once worked at the grand estate called Bly where she now resides. The initial appearance of these apparitions is riveting as the reasons for their presence are immediately deemed sinister and dangerous. In the final chapters, the characterization takes some sharp turns, and while the climax in the final line of the story leaves far too much open to interpretation, I am looking forward to discussing with students what exactly the ending means, especially as it pertains to the governess and her experiences at Bly and her reliability as a narrator!

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Reading Progress

19.0% "I'm probably teaching this far it's really good!"

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