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Turn of the Screw

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This paper provides a Marxist critique of Henry James Turn of the Screw which ...... More...
3 Pages / 675 Words
4 sources, 4 Citations, MLA Format

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Paper Abstract:
This paper provides a Marxist critique of Henry James’ novel Turn of the Screw which argues that the class distinction and social and economic forces that impact the Governess are responsible for her belief that she sees apparitions who mean harm to her two charges.

Paper Introduction:
Turn of the ScrewIntroduction The Marxist critique of literature focuses on class differences andhow the economic and social forces because of them impact the lives ofcharacters In Henry James\' Turn of the Screw the Governess is young poor inexperienced and much lower in class status than her employer whoshe loves and her charges Miles and Flora Isolated at Bly and told byher employer to have no contact with her not even one word the Governesscontinues to love her employer The distinctions of

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As Aiken (9) writes, "Perhaps itis such people, deprived of fantasy in their early years, who turn soeagerly to ghosts."Conclusion In conclusion, it is readily apparent that social and economicforces because of class distinctions act on the Governess in a negativemanner. However, these aredesires that she cannot control in herself. Turn of the ScrewIntroduction The Marxist critique of literature focuses on class differences andhow the economic and social forces because of them impact the lives ofcharacters. 11 Feb 2 6:, 1-33.Roellinger, Francis X. As Parkinson (1)maintains, "The young Governess is a neurotic case of repression, and theghosts are not real ghosts at all but merely the Governess'hallucinations." Young, inexperienced and in over her head at Bly, the Governess isnot fully conscious of the impact of social and economic forces on her.She knows there are class distinctions but her love for her employer andher charges is a desire she cannot fully repress. She is also poorand of low social standing, primarily because of male social and economicprivilege which are responsible for her isolated state at Bly. The Governess is ayoung woman who knows there are social distinctions, like when sheacknowledges Mile and Flora have better breeding than she does, but shefails to see the full impact of social and economic forces on her psyche.Inexperienced and young, she is exhausted and anxiety ridden over having tocare for two mysterious children. Works CitedAiken, Joan. "The Turn of the Screw: A History of its Critical Interpretations." 11 Jun 2 3. As such,James' novel can be viewed as the negative impact of class distinctions onhuman existence and the psyche. Because she cannot control howshe feels and is too inexperienced and young to recognize she can never bethe "lady" of Bly, her frustrations cause her to see visions that threatenthe children. Being of low station andpoor, the Governess has never lived the privilege life of her employer orFlora and Miles. AsRoellinger (4 6) argues, the ghosts remain "a baffling mystery until thegoverness begins to develop her theory that they have come 'to get hold' ofthe children." In her role as protector of the children against the "ghosts," theGoverness remains bound to the children and her employer in her mind. Itmay be James' statement that we all remain, on some level, unconscious ofthe destructive forces of class distinctions. Such class distinctions tend to limit expression and desire amongthose subjected to their social and economic forces. Though she often seems more aware than Mrs. Grose, even the Governessfeels superior to this illiterate and simple servant at Bly. The distinctions of class and social andeconomic forces between the Governess and her employer cause her to see"ghosts," ones we are unsure of being real or merely the product of herfrustrated desires.Body The Governess of Bly is young and inexperienced. We may even assume that Miles dies because the Governess frightenshim to death with her imaginary visions of threatening ghosts. Though she can never be of their class, she makes herselfinto a heroic figure by trying to protect them from the apparitions. Isolated at Bly and told byher employer to have no contact with her, not even one word, the Governesscontinues to love her employer. Shemay never be bound to them on the same social or economic level, but in hermind she is needed or necessary to protect them. This may be why we never know for sure allwe would like to know about the events that unfold during the novel. In a way, the visions she experiences may be a directoutcome of her fantasies about living a life that is grander or moreexciting than that of a poor Governess. "Psychical Research and The Turn of the Screw." American Literature, 2 (4), 4 1-412. She loves her employer but cannotcommunicate with him, symbolic of the differences between them socially.Because of her repression of her feelings due to these forces, theGoverness' psyche begins to see ghost that she believes are a threat to orsomehow connected to the children in a harmful manner. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1989. He tells us of her, "she was themost agreeable woman I've ever known in her position" (James Introduction). In Henry James' Turn of the Screw, the Governess is young,poor, inexperienced and much lower in class status than her employer, whoshe loves, and her charges, Miles and Flora. The Turn of the Screw. "Writing Ghost Stories." Writer, 1 7(2), 9-13.James, Henry. Douglas isthe one who admires the Governess the most, but even he knows where shestands in the social scheme of things. 11 Feb 2 6:, Edward J.

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