Name of the Teacher English Name of the Concerned Professor 2 December 2013 The Turn of the Screw- The Intermingling of the Believable and the Deceptive There is no denying the fact that The Turn of the Screw written by Henry James happens to be both an enervating as well as a deeply engrossing ghost novella…
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It does not happen to be a ghost story that wrenches the readers’ interest by the inclusion of gross elements like blood curdling episodes and enervating shrieks and action on the part of the ghosts and apparitions. Rather the horror style of Henry James does differ from the other fiction writers in the sense that it happens to be sophisticated and subtle that inculcates the element of horror in the narrative with much finesse and craftsmanship, thereby allowing the readers to exercise their imagination while perusing a work of fiction that is disturbingly open and inconclusive in terms of climax. In The Turn of the Screw Henry James resorts to a combination of the usual elements of a ghost narrative and his unique ability to engage the imagination of the reader through subtle suggestions, to present his peculiar brand of horror. Even while attempting a cursory perusal of the text, the readers simply cannot help noticing the astute way in which Henry James subscribes to a range of narrative devices to facilitate a disturbing as well as fabulous rendition of the psychic elements within the story. As per Jeffery Williams, “The frame of the Turn of the Screw figures a different scene, the conditions not as fatally serious, but nonetheless as urgent, coding the story primarily in terms of entertainment and an overwhelming curiosity (Williams 112).” It goes without saying that the events and actions within the narrative are so arranged to cull out the desired emotive response on the part of the readers, without leaving any scope for the superfluous and the gross. For instance the governess’ narrative begins with the observation that, “I remember the whole beginning as a succession of flights and drops, a little seesaw of the right throbs and the wrong (James 12).” These lines bring in an element of expectation within the narrative without resorting to abject horror and intimidation on the part of the writer. Such astute comments on the part of the governess and other characters do command a weight in the sense that they present the way characters react and act, in the meantime bringing forth their moral and dispositional traits. As it gets very evident from the given line, the element of horror is introduced slowly but steadily in the narrative to titillate the senses of the readers, without resorting to any abject presentation of the blood curdling horror. The writers presents the governess’ first encounter with the absurd as, “That was exactly present to me- by which I mean the face was- when, on the first of these occasions, at the end of a long June day, I stopped short on emerging from one of the plantations and coming into view of the house (James 26).” With the direct encounter of the governess with the imminent horror as expressed in this line, the plot in the novella gets dense to arouse the expectations of the readers as to the future course of action within the story and the eventual turn that the narrative will take. The way the characters in the story are presented, as in the case of Flora, “She expressed in her little way an extraordinary detachment from the disagreeable duties, looking to me, however, with a great childish light that seemed to offer it as a mere result of the affection she has conceived for my person... (James 20)”, make the readers readily strike a bond with the characters and they simply cannot help being concerned about as to what will eventually happen to them. This
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