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MonkeyNotes-The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
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Chapter 3

Summary

Miles arrives at the appointed hour and surprises the governess with his innocence and charm. He is a lovable child and shows no trace of evil or bad behavior. The governess is sure that they have made a mistake in school. With this thought, she decides against mentioning the letter to either Miles or her employer. The housekeeper shares her view and promises to help her in her future endeavors.

The governess starts taking lessons for Miles and Flora who are good students and give her no cause for complaints. Both the children trust her completely and their dependence on her also makes her protective towards them. She therefore begins to feel responsible for their welfare.

In her free time, she either indulges in day - dreaming or goes for walks. During her walks she always thinks about her employer and fondly hopes that he would make a surprise visit to Bly to encourage her efforts. One afternoon she goes out for a stroll and as usual she is thinking about her employer. Just as she comes out of the plantations, she catches a glimpse of the man of her dreams standing atop the tower. On watching intently, she is disappointed to find that he is not the master but somebody else, who is dressed like him. The thought disturbs her as she keeps gazing at the figure till dusk. The figure also stares at her but moves away after a short while.


Notes

She waits for Miles with apprehension, but feels relieved after meeting him. The boy is both charming and courteous. He is as good looking as his sister and as adorable in his manners. She has no doubts about the boy’s character and suspects the school authorities of mischief. She takes Miles and Flora under her fold and is happy teaching and guiding them. She looks forward with hope. However, her dreams and hopes are interrupted on a day in June. While meandering through the plantations, she spots someone looking at her from the tower. In the beginning, she mistakes him to be her employer and therefore feels overjoyed. However, on looking again, she realizes her mistake. The man who stares at her is a stranger. As she stands looking at the apparition, the figure disappears, even before she is able to ascertain the identity of the stranger. This leaves her absolutely confused.

Henry James heightens the element of suspense in the novel, through the vision of the mysterious man. Each chapter reveals something about a character that mystifies the readers. If the prologue describes the peculiar character of the employer, the second chapter casts doubts on the character of the ten-year old boy and his former governess. In this chapter, a strange man appears on the scene and haunts the governess. What is the mystery behind these characters and their behavior?

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