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The Turn of the Screw
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Archived > Turn of the Screw - Week 2 (October 2016)

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message 1: by Nicole (last edited Oct 03, 2016 09:09PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Nicole Week Two: October 9 - 15

This week's reading covers Chapters 7 - 12

Feel free to leave your thoughts about this week's reading below as well as an discussion questions you may like to discuss.


message 2: by Michelle (new) - added it

Michelle (mich2689) | 219 comments Just started chapter 7. I wonder what the man did that was so bad! And I wonder what the relationship between the man and the woman was. What do they want with the children??? Ahhh so suspenseful and creepy.


Angie I can't decide whether I think the governess is actually seeing everything she claims to see or if she's going crazy.


message 4: by Michelle (new) - added it

Michelle (mich2689) | 219 comments I think she is actually seeing them because the children seem to be able to see them too. Plus, her descriptions match that of Quint and the previous governess.


Angie I'm not so sure. In my opinion, he governess is an unreliable narrator. We only know that the children can see them because the governess says they can. The children barely get any dialogue (at least as of Chapter 12), so we have only the governess's interpretation.


message 6: by Michelle (new) - added it

Michelle (mich2689) | 219 comments Angie wrote: "I'm not so sure. In my opinion, he governess is an unreliable narrator. We only know that the children can see them because the governess says they can. The children barely get any dialogue (at lea..."

Hmm what about Mrs. Grose's responses? I know she didn't actually see the "ghosts", but I feel that if the governess was seeing things, Mrs Grose wouldn't admit that the descriptions match that of people who used to be employed there.


Matt (mmullerm) I'm just finishing Chapter 10 and am half way through the book and so far I only understand about half of what is going on in this convoluted plot. The dialogue is generally very hard to follow, and the writing style is driving me crazy. I am wondering where all this is going?


message 8: by Jon (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jon | 397 comments Matt wrote: ".....so far I only understand about half of what is going on in this convoluted plot. The dialogue is generally very hard to follow, ......"

I understand. I would suggest only that you stay with it if you can. James wrote in a unique genre of psychological fiction (or, if you prefer, literary realism) that did not exist before then. Ibsen and Chekhov also contributed similar fictional efforts. His idea of narrator point of view and stream of consciousness was quite powerful; it influenced later writers like Joyce and Woolf.

I personally find some of his stories quite dense for the reasons you mentioned. His earlier stories, like this and Daisy Miller, are your best bet.


Paula I seem to be a little behind everyone in reading along. I find the governess' stream of thought difficult to follow at times. But I knew going in this was a writing style James had used on purpose. I'm committed to finish, but may not finish by the end of October. Thanks for all your comments, people.


message 10: by Matt (new) - rated it 4 stars

Matt (mmullerm) Thanks for the encouragement, Jon. I will finish this book because it definitely is interesting enough. These "stream of consciousness" books like this story and Virginia Woolf's books are a new thing for me and it is simply a writing style I'm not really used to. I tried (and failed) to get through To the Lighthouse earlier this year but maybe I'll try it again sometime. I sometimes like a little bit of a challenge!


message 11: by Jon (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jon | 397 comments Matt wrote: "Thanks for the encouragement, Jon. I will finish this book because it definitely is interesting enough...."

For me, the biggest challenge for stream of consciousness is James Joyce. I handled Dubliners and Portrait of the Artist with ease, but Ulysses was a major challenge (at first).


Kimberly | 145 comments I am not a fan of the this style of writing. I did manage to finish To the Lighthouse, and despite not liking the style, this book is way more interesting. :)

Chapter IX was especially scary. The way she saw the man on the stairs. James described that feeling so well, I felt like I was seeing the ghost.

I do believe she is seeing something. She described them too well to the housekeeper to not have seen them. And, she sure believes the kids see them. Her reasoning - that Flora seemed to try too hard to show she didn't see the old governess's ghost across the lake - seems sound. Of course, she may have misinterpreted what she saw from Flora, but the children's night time behavior does seem a little odd...

Can't wait to read what happens next! :)


message 13: by Matt (new) - rated it 4 stars

Matt (mmullerm) I just finished The Turn of the Screw. Here is a link to my non-spoiler review in case anyone is interested: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... - I hope everyone enjoys this book and I look forward to reading your comments and reviews about the book!


Nicole I'm a bit behind but I'm hoping to be done with Week 2 and on to Week 3 by tomorrow.

I've just finished Chapter Seven and I chuckled a bit through it. The conversation between the governess and Mrs. Grose was so gossipy!

"You'll never believe ..."
"No, you don't say!"
"I do! And you'll never believe what else!"
"What shall we do?!"

Goodness! It was very dramatic but I thought the conversation was fun. It may be because of the back and forth nature of the conversation, but I did start to get the feeling that Mrs. Grose may be needlessly escalating the situation. Imagine her as a stern, no nonsense housekeeper and this story shuts down pretty quickly! It does lend itself to the idea that the governess maybe not be a reliable witness ...

As for the writing style, I may have struggled with it for the first couple of chapters but I quickly got used to it and am enjoying it now. The writing style does have some S.O.C. tendencies but I don't know if I would quiet classify it as such.


message 15: by Paula (new) - rated it 1 star

Paula Matt wrote: "I just finished The Turn of the Screw. Here is a link to my non-spoiler review in case anyone is interested: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... - I hope everyone enjoys this book and ..."
Thanks for a non-spoiler review. I'm believing people are giving away a little too much for those of us who are not done with the book or as far along as they are.


message 16: by Michelle (new) - added it

Michelle (mich2689) | 219 comments Paula, that's why the discussions are split up into different weeks. I don't look at posts under a certain week unless I've done the reading for the assigned chapters.


Madeline Easton Angie wrote: "I'm not so sure. In my opinion, he governess is an unreliable narrator. We only know that the children can see them because the governess says they can. The children barely get any dialogue (at lea..."

I have to agree that something is odd about the governess and her narration. It doesn't quite add up. I would argue that she is seeing ghosts because she describes them to Mrs. Grose, and the descriptions match Mr. Quint and Ms. Jessel without her having previously met or known them. That's usually how ghosts stories seem to happen.

However, I would argue that the governess is also unreliable in her narration because her actions don't coincide with her thoughts. There is this stream of consciousness where she seems quite convinced of her observations (the children's actions and attitudes and the ghosts) and her interpretations of those observations (previous impropriety and/or criminal actions on the part of the ghosts and the supposedly continued relationship between the kids and the ghosts).

Despite these thoughts, she doesn't seem to act on any of them. She'll sort of confide in Mrs. Grose, but she won't ask the children about the ghosts, she won't ask the headmaster about what happened at the school, and she won't go to the children's uncle with her concerns. I feel like anyone else in that situation would more actively pursue answers to her questions about the children and the ghosts, especially once those kids started acting weird, walking around at night and whatnot.


Nicole Madeline -

I hadn't thought about it like that, but it does seem like the governess has a lot of excuses for not validating her beliefs. She neither speaks to the children directly, nor does she write the headmaster back to inquire after the cause of Miles' expulsion. Which I'm currently assuming is due to his ghostly visitor - Is anyone else drawing that conclusion?


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