free booknotes online

Help / FAQ




<- Previous Page | First Page | Next Page ->
MonkeyNotes-The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version

THEMES

The important Themes of the novel are ‘Innocence corrupted by evil’ and ‘Obsession resulting in conflicts.’ Miles and Flora are innocent children orphaned at a tender age and left at the mercy of an uncle, who is too busy to take care of them. Thus, they are put under the care of servants. Living under the same roof with a lowly valet like Peter Quint and a woman of licentious nature, like Jessel, they acquire certain bad traits like lying, stealing and mouthing bad words. Flora and Miles are otherwise good, kind-hearted and courteous children. The governess, instead of understanding their plight and dealing with them with tenderness, accuses them of wickedness and antagonizes them. Instead of reforming the children and restoring their innocence, she makes them feel guilty and infuses fear into their hearts. Thus, the angelic Flora, who had all along adored her teacher and treated her with respect, abuses her when the governess accuses her of meeting Jessel and lying about it. Miles, who shows affection for his teacher and even confides in her about his problems, feels hesitant to confront her when the lady forces him to confess his crime. His teacher’s taunts and Quint’s presence in the room, creates panic in his heart and he loses grip over his life. Thus, Miles and Flora become victims of evil influences.

The other major theme in the novel is ‘Obsession resulting in conflicts.’ From the moment the governess arrives at Bly, she decides to become a godmother to the children, in order to guide and protect them. Thus, she keeps a watch over them and admonishes them if they stray outside the house. She forgets that they are children who need freedom to inhale the essence of life. When Miles reminds her that he should be sent back to school to interact with boys of his own age, she feels disturbed. She fails to understand his need for companionship. She takes for granted that the children are happy under her care and in her obsession to guard them, she makes them her slaves.


As a young woman of twenty, the governess enters Bly with romantic ideas and visions. Infatuated with her employer, she often dreams about him and imagines that he is going to give a surprise visit to Bly. One such day, when she is thinking about her employer, she notices the figure of a man standing on the tower. She mistakes it to be the man of her dreams. However, as she looks intently, she notices that it is someone else wearing the employer’s clothes. It is probable that a lady, given to imagination and indulging in romantic fantasies, is hallucinating about a stranger appearing to challenge her authority. Thus, the lady keeps having visions of Quint and Jessel and devices ways and means to challenge them and drive them away. She also starts believing that they have come to antagonize the children against her. Obsessed with the idea, that the ghosts are casting their evil influence on the children, she begins to suspects every word and action of the children, and this drives them to desperation. The governess thus fails in her duty to look after the children. Her obsession drives her crazy and results in conflicts with the children.

Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version


<- Previous Page | First Page | Next Page ->
MonkeyNotes-The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
Google
Web
PinkMonkey

Google
  Web PinkMonkey.com   

All Contents Copyright © PinkMonkey.com
All rights reserved. Further Distribution Is Strictly Prohibited.


About Us
 | Advertising | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Home Page
This page was last updated: 5/9/2017 8:53:42 AM