3/19: “The Turn of the Screw” by Henry James (Part II)

After finishing “The Turn of the Screw” by Henry James, we learn a lot about the governess and her interaction with the kids, Miles and Flora. I found her to be a fascinating character but was never quite sure how trustworthy she is as a narrator. At first, I thought she was an extremely dedicated and caring teacher and that it was understandable why she was close to the kids on a certain level than most teachers. But once her paranoia hits her, it just became too much and too overbearing.  We learn that she is clearly something of a romantic, at least at the beginning, and this inclination contributes to her acceptance of the job at Bly. Though she only meets her employer, the kid’s uncle, twice, she’s definitely swept off her feet and spends the rest of the story secretly in love with him or somewhere along the line of that. Because of her obsession with the kid’s uncle, this may explain why she is touchy-feely with the kids. With that being said, I don’t think the governess is an appropriate teacher. She oversteps her boundaries. She gets too close, physically, as a teacher with the kids but she also spends too much time obsessing over the fact that the kids are visited by the ghosts than actually spending and taking care of the kids itself. Throughout the reading, I noticed that she get physically close with the kids not just regularly but in a more maniacal level. Not only does she embraces or kisses them but she also has these spasms in which she hurts them like the incident that occurred with Flora. She gets double minded about her views on the kids therefore not a very suitable characteristic as a teacher. One day she’ll praise them, the next day, she will have her suspicions of them. I guess that she was concerned with how the kid’s uncle may see her, she pushed herself to the children to the point that it became too much on both sides. She becomes too focus on acting more of a mother than a teacher. Yes, it is important to care for the kids but it also important to correct and guide the kids with more of a disciplinary action which the governess failed to do. The governess stands out as a neurotic, sexually repressed woman, whose hidden desires drive her mad.

The Innocents (1961) GIF from http://nitratediva.tumblr.com/

The Innocents (1961)
GIF from http://nitratediva.tumblr.com/

After learning about the governess, how she is as a teacher and her interactions in with kids, I got the understanding that she is like Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix. They both are super crazy. Umbridge becomes very controlling of her students and gets attached to how Hogwarts should be run. This becomes her obsession just like how the ghosts visiting the kids become the governess’s obsession. They both won’t let go of things easily until they got it their way no matter how crazy they may sound.


3 thoughts on “3/19: “The Turn of the Screw” by Henry James (Part II)

  1. justinalick says:

    Dolores Umbridge is another evil teacher in the Harry Potter series, similar but much worse compared to Severus Snape. Dolores always left a bad taste in the mouth of the reader/viewer.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I definitely think you are on point with your analysis as the governess as a teacher. Specifically, I agree with you saying that she becomes way too attached with the children. Although she is just looking out for their best interest, her attachment allows her to obsess over the presence of the ghosts. And Dolores Umbridge is a great example of a horrid teacher whose way is the only and “best” way to act on situations.


  3. frombrittany says:

    I agree with you completely! The governess does over step her boundaries acting more like a mother than an actual teacher to the children. However I do think we make this judgement based on our interpretation of what a teacher is today. Back in the 1890’s I think it was common for a nanny of children with no mother to play both roles, though I could be wrong that’s just my assumption. However that doesn’t excuse her over reactions when it comes to the children.


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