Talk about Books
Talk about Books
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The Turn of the Screw: Let's Discuss

I just read it for the first time. I didn't especially enjoy reading it, but now that I'm done, I'm completely obsessed with it.

So much to discuss [SPOILERS AHEAD]:

  • Is the governess insane? Because she's boy crazy? Because she wants to possess these beautiful children who do not want to be possessed? Because they surpass her? Because she's alone?
  • If the ghosts aren't real, how did she know what her ppredecessors at Bly looked like? Was that just Mrs. Grose jumping to conclusions?
  • Did the kids do or say anything that would be described as nefarious without the governesses fevered (and let's say bizarre) interpretations of them?
  • Did Quint sexually abuse Miles or/and expose the children to sexual conduct with Miss Jessel? Does this explain the "bad" things Miles said to get kicked out school, why the headmaster believed Miles was a danger to the other boys? Or was it just generalized sexual interest he showed in the boys he "LIKED"? Was he acting out his own abuse?
  • Is Mrs. Grose dumber than a box of rocks?
  • Is it significant that Douglas was himself smitten with the Governess, who was "too old" for him (and does it matter that the other ladies scoffed at the idea of a ten year age gap?), and of a significantly different class? Is crossing class and age boundaries in a sexual context a major theme of the book? Is that, in part, why Miles says he wants to be with his "own sort"?
  • Isn't the painting on this book cover intended to portray the Princes of the Tower? Hmmm? HMMMM?
  • And more!
Illustration for article titled The Turn of the Screw: Lets Discuss

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