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An Unrequited Love in the Turn of the Screw by Henry James

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In "The Turn of the Screw" by Henry James, the main character, the governess, is so deluded and lonely that she will do anything necessary to reduce these horrifying feelings and not feel them. She decides that the way to do that is to possibly find love and instead she seems to have found a strange infatuation with her employer. But, sadly because she is located in a country house in Essex, such a longing is not possible to define. When the governess realizes this, she seems to apparently replace her unreciprocated feelings in the shape of ghostly spirits. It possibly is her way of "getting out." Without fully realizing this, the governess has chosen to be an unreliable narrator. Seeing the ghostly spirits which make appearances in this invisible relationship, allows her to feel as though she, herself was a part of an invisible relationship. But in all actuality, there is no relationship because the employer seems to keep ignoring her. When the governess becomes tired of these ghosts, she turns to other characters to fulfill her "goals." It seems that the governess starts seeing ghosts at the same time she desires to be in love. The young governess is instantly attracted to the "handsome, bold and pleasant" (p. 7) bachelor uncle of the orphaned children by whom she is hired. It also seems that she has an overwhelmingly obsession with how beautiful a person is. This overpowering feeling was the original incentive for her accepting the job as governess. The governess gives out the sense at the beginning of the novel that she may have been a little desperate seeing as she knew hardly anything about coming to Essex and jumped right at the chance of it. Her craving to be cherished and prized by a man is provoked by the uncle's "charming ways with women" (p. 7). His politeness gives her an idea of how she would like to be treated in life because perhaps she wasn't treated the best before. When the governess leaves to accept the position, she is at a very young age of 20, having lived in a country with poverty and her only one position related to children was as a schoolteacher prior to the position she is taking now. This results in a lack of knowledge as to what she wants from life. The employer inadvertently, in a way gives her something to live for and hope towards. When the governess first starts to see the mysterious man in the tower, is it because her dreams to be in love become so realistic that she begins to start imagining ghosts? She sees the first man and it is only a moment after she is dreaming about how it would be "as charming as a charming story suddenly to meet someone" (p. 15). When she uses the word 'story', it seems as if she means a childlike, fairytale view of the emotion she experiences. At this point in the book, it portrays the governess to have an inability to deal with her emotions maturely. Instead, she longs and strives for a love that she has been dreaming about ever since she arrived at Bly. These romantic thoughts have made her imagine she's seeing Peter Quint. The imagination of the governess shows her Quint as a ghost because unintentionally, she knows it's unreal and therefore impossible to achieve. After seeing what she believed was Quint, another strange ghostly figure appears and it seems to be Mrs. Jessel. These sightings are leading us to believe that the ghosts are expressions of her thoughts and mind. Somehow, she sees the ghost in her own imagination



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