The Governess in Henry James's The Turn of the Screw - Heroic Savior or Possessive Neurotic: Heroic Savior or Possessive Neurotic by Bernd Steiner

The Governess in Henry James's The Turn of the Screw - Heroic Savior or Possessive Neurotic: Heroic…

byBernd Steiner

Kobo ebook | March 19, 2007

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Seminar paper from the year 2001 in the subject American Studies - Literature, grade: 1,0, Catholic University Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, course: Nineteenth-Century American Short Stories, 10 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: Henry James's short story (or novella, as it's also sometimes labeled) 'The Turn of the Screw,' which was first published in installments in Collier's Weekly Magazine in 1898, is at the same time one of his most popular works of fiction and also the one that has been most controversially discussed. In fact, the question whether the apparitions the governess sees are real ghosts haunting and trying to corrupt the children or merely hallucinations of a neurotic woman 'blessed' with an overactive imagination has stirred so much controversy that it has even led to the formation of two opposing critical camps sometimes referred to as the apparitionists, i.e. those who believe that the ghosts are real, and the non-apparitionists, i.e. those who believe that the ghosts are just a product of the governess's overactive imagination. This question of the ghosts' reality is of course closely linked to the role of the governess as the main character and also narrator of the story, as well as her personality, aims, and motives. Therefore, even apart from the question of the ghosts' reality, which probably will never be solved to everybody's satisfaction anyway, one aspect of the story seems to be worth having a closer look at: is the governess rather a heroic woman unselfishly and selfsacrificingly attempting to save the children from the evil influence the ghosts exert on them, or a hysterical and overly protective character wanting to possess her charges and control their every move? In order to shed some light on this conflict (which, just like the aforementioned question of the ghosts' reality, probably can never be definitely solved), I will first try to sum up the basic information on the governess as provided in the prologue to the actual story, then briefly talk about the point of view from which the action is presented in the narrative proper as well as the effects it has on the reader, and finally discuss various possibilities of characterizing and assessing, based mainly on her actions and statements, the governess and her motives, which I will do in connection with a brief outline of the position some more or less influential critics or critical schools have taken in this matter in the time since the story came out. [...]

Title:The Governess in Henry James's The Turn of the Screw - Heroic Savior or Possessive Neurotic: Heroic…Format:Kobo ebookPublished:March 19, 2007Publisher:GRIN VerlagLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:3638616169

ISBN - 13:9783638616164

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