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MonkeyNotes-The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
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Chapter 15

Summary

The mind of the governess is in turmoil. How can she resolve the problem of Miles? She finds it very difficult to tell him about his dismissal from school and is angry with him for creating this situation. The governess also believes that he is aware of her discomfiture. She decides to write and call back her employer, even though it would put her in an awkward situation. She does not want to meet Miles again, before resolving the problem and therefore decides not to accompany the others to the church. Suddenly, she feels the need to escape from the whole situation and run away from Bly.

With this intention, she returns back to the house to pack her bags. As she enters the study to pick up her things, she is shocked to see Miss Jessel sitting on a desk and looking at her with melancholic eyes. The governess speaks to her harshly and the ghost disappears.


Notes

This chapter portrays the governess in a poor light. All this while, she had tried to project herself as a martyr who is prepared to sacrifice her life for the children. She had shown herself to be a responsible guardian, who was only concerned about the welfare of her wards. However, when Miles confronts her with his problem and seeks her advice, she does not know how to help him. She fails to offer any solace to the boy and is angry with him for putting her in an awkward situation. She is also hesitant about calling back her employer, as she is afraid of earning his reproach. Thus, unable to tackle the situation, she decides to run away from her problems and Bly. This decision of hers, shows her as a selfish and immature guardian and also exposes her weak character.

The chapter justifies the saying that man proposes and God disposes. The governess returns to the house with the intention of leaving it. However, when she enters the study to collect her things, the ghost of Miss. Jessel confronts her. It is as though the ghost is taunting her. The governess is shocked and fears that the spirit might take complete possession of the children if she leaves. Thus, after frightening away the ghost, she resolves to stay back at Bly.

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