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MonkeyNotes-The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
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Chapter 22

Summary

After Mrs. Grose and Flora depart from Bly, the governess is left alone to deal with Miles. The servants and the maids seem to be aware of the developments at Bly, as they curiously look at the governess. The governess tries to regain her self-control in order to face the situation at hand. She does not see Miles when she comes to have breakfast. She learns that he has finished his breakfast with his sister and Mrs. Grose and has gone out for a walk. The governess realizes that Miles needs to enjoy his freedom before confronting her. She recollects the events of the past and her present situation and considers the changed circumstances as another turn of the screw.

Miles comes down for dinner. As long as the maids hover around, they hardly talk to each other. Miles only remarks about Flora and her illness. The governess assures him about the health of his sister and he becomes quiet. After dinner, the maids leave and they are left alone. Miles remarks that, they are alone at last.


Notes

Mystery shrouds the atmosphere of this chapter. After Flora and Mrs. Grose leave the scene, there is ominous silence in the house. Miles avoids his teacher throughout the day and when he finally meets her at dinner, he is ill at ease. The governess also seems embarrassed. The magnitude of the situation and her responsibility towards Miles, weighs her down. The servants also look grim and perform their tasks mechanically. As darkness envelops the scene outside, tension diffuses within the house.

The title of the story is emphasized in this chapter. As the governess assesses her past and reviews the present, she considers it to be another turn of the screw. She had been confronted with problems in the past and had tackled them. She hopes to do the same with the present situation.

The statement of Miles at the end of the chapter is significant. When he says, “Well-so we’re alone,” after the maids leave, it is suggestive. It can mean that now that they are alone, the governess can start questioning him. It can also mean that now they are free to deal with their situation. Either way, it suggests a bond of intimacy between the two.

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