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The Turn of the Screw
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2016 > The Turn of the Screw : Part Two

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message 1: by Marie (last edited Oct 06, 2016 03:37AM) (new)

Marie Williams | 713 comments Mod
Days pass without incident until the governess wakes one evening to find her candle out and Flora at the window. She immediately assumes Flora is communicating with Miss Jessel, but on looking out, finds Miles on the lawn. He explains that it was a prank between him and Flora to prove that he could be bad if he wanted.

But the governess tells Mrs Grose she is now convinced the children are at the mercy of Quint and Miss Jessel, that together they speak of untold horror, and the ghosts are intent on claiming the children as their own. The housekeeper urges her if she truly believes the children to be in danger, to write to their uncle. She considers, but fearing he will think her lonely or mad, she refuses and threatens to leave if Mrs Grose contacts him.

She does not speak of the incident again until on the way to church Miles asks her when he will be allowed to return to school, that he has been well behaved and grows tired of being around only women. She tries to coax Miles into telling why he was expelled from school, but he counters by stating that he will contact his uncle and make him come to deal with the situation. Fearing Mile's plan, she decides to leave the house, but on returning she encounters Miss Jessel again in the schoolroom. She calls her a terrible, miserable woman, and believes the ghost's presence means she must stay.

The housekeeper returns, saying the children urged nothing to be said of the governess's actions, but she tells Mrs Grose of her encounter with Miss Jessel, stating the ghost spoke of torment and wants Flora. But she does agree at Mrs Grose's urging to write to the children's uncle. She speaks to Miles that evening, who again states that he only wishes to get away to a new environment. When a chill wind extinguishes the candle, he states it was Him who blew it out.

The next day Miles offers to play for her, only to realize after that Flora is missing. She searches the house unable to find her, then tells Mrs Grose she knows her to be with Miss Jessel, and Miles with Peter Quint. She leaves the letter for a servant to post, and they go to search the grounds for Flora. Flora is nowhere to be found, but the governess is convinced she must have taken the boat to the other side of the lake where the ghost had been seen. When they find her, Flora asks where Miles is, to which the governess begins to question her about Miss Jessel. Flora becomes angry, insisting she has never seen anything. The governess sees Miss Jessel across the lake, but soon realizes no one can see the ghost. She claims the ghost is speaking through the child, but is left alone by Flora and Mrs Grose. On her return, she notices the boat is back in its usual place.

That night, Mrs Grose wakes the governess saying that Flora is terrified and saying shocking things. She convinces the housekeeper to take Flora immediately to her uncle, and leave her there with Miles, who she believes will have stolen the letter.

The next evening, Miles questions his sister's illness and what caused her sudden aversion to the house, stating that the two of them are now alone. He agrees to tell her everything, and she questions him over the letter and his school expulsion. He confesses to taking the letter, but he is interrupted by the governess's sighting of Quint outside the window. She pulls him to her, holding him tightly as he tries to explain he burned the letter after finding there was nothing about him in it, and that he was expelled for saying things to boys he liked at school. He tries to shift away from her, but she grabs him again, more tightly this time. He asks if she is here, and she responds that it is the "coward horror." She points toward the window as he tries to turn crying out, "You devil." When she looks down, she finds Mile's heart has stopped.


Erik (airxx) | 127 comments I can just imagine a tremendous movie capable of being made from this, something truly terrifying. I know the BBC did an attempt, but have not seen it. I doubt it would truly be scary if the BBC did it, but it would likely fit the period well.


message 3: by Marie (last edited Oct 11, 2016 06:19AM) (new)

Marie Williams | 713 comments Mod
Erik wrote: "I can just imagine a tremendous movie capable of being made from this, something truly terrifying. I know the BBC did an attempt, but have not seen it. I doubt it would truly be scary if the BBC di..."

The BBC has done two versions, one older and a miniseries a few years ago with pre-Downton Dan Stevens and Michele Dockery, but I've not seen either of those. There is the 1960's film The Innocents with Deborah Kerr, it's a good classic film, but obviously plays up the ghost story a little more due to the time period and content of the novel. About ten years ago, they made a film version with Leelee Sobieski where Miles doesn't die, and they play on an angle that she has been sexually abusing him. It was an interesting movie...


message 4: by Marie (new)

Marie Williams | 713 comments Mod
Probably the most fascinating thing about this story is that Henry James managed to write one of the most famous ghost stories in English/American literature, without a ghost. His father was a psychoanalyst, and he was an open door closeted homosexual, so his more frightening stories revolve around the horror of mental illness and repressed sexuality.

The real question where people differ, is what was actually going on with the children.


message 5: by Linda Abhors the New GR Design (last edited Oct 11, 2016 06:01AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Linda Abhors the New GR Design | 531 comments Marie wrote: "he was an open door closeted homosexual,."
I don't know that I've heard that term before......


message 6: by Marie (last edited Oct 11, 2016 06:23AM) (new)

Marie Williams | 713 comments Mod
That's because I made it up, Linda. ;)

He was openly gay, everyone knew he was gay, but he was a member of the 19th century upper class so he had to pretend he was in the closet. Scholars argue about his earlier repressed homosexuality, but later he was pretty open about it.


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