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MonkeyNotes-The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
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Chapter 13

Summary

For sometime, nothing of significance happens. Neither the governess nor the children talk about the unpleasant events of the recent past. In fact, the children show more interest in learning about their teacher and her family back home and take great joy in listening to her stories about herself. Seasons change and life goes on peacefully. The governess does not have any more encounters with the ghosts, though she keeps contemplating on the idea that, the children are aware of the ghosts. However, since the children never talk about the spirits or express any knowledge of them, she does not find any reason for accusing them. They only ask about their uncle and express a desire to meet him. They even write letters to him but the letters are never posted.

Life thus continues at an even pace. The governess pursues her work with dedication and Miles and Flora share a good rapport with her. They give her no cause for complaint. Thus, the lady showers her affection on the children in spite of their strange behavior in the recent past.


Notes

A slow transition takes place in the atmosphere and the attitude of the people as the novel progresses. It is a bright June morning when the governess enters Bly. She is as impressed by the bright and natural surroundings as she is attracted to the charming presence of Flora. She regards the little girl as an angel living in an archaic castle. However, as months pass and the seasons change from summer to autumn, the attitude of the governess towards her surroundings and the children alters. After her encounter with the ghosts, she begins to view her surroundings with caution and fear. As the children exhibit strange behavior, she starts doubting their innocence and suspecting them of communicating secretly with the evil spirits. Thus her mind becomes prejudiced against the children even though she still loves them. She starts detecting the devil in their angelic presence.

The master of the house remains inconspicuous. His mysterious activities are as intriguing as the presence of the ghosts. Also, it is difficult to understand why he avoids meeting the adorable children. How can a guardian remain aloof from his wards and not bother about their welfare? The man evokes suspicion. The absence of their uncle is probably one of the reasons why the children behave strangely. Craving for the affection of their uncle and longing to meet him, they resort to unnatural behavior.

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